Judge Evan’s “Rap” Sheet (Evans)

U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Terence T. Evans, who passed away in 2011, was well-known for his opinions jammed with sports trivia (see here and here).

But in a criminal case involving witness tampering and “too many Murphys” (the defendant, his son and the trial judge were all named Murphy), Judge Evans mined a different pop culture-vein in an opening footnote necessitated by a court reporting error in the trial transcript:

1. The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch “hoe.” A “hoe,” of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden’s response. We have taken the liberty of changing “hoe” to “ho,” a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps “You doin’ ho activities with ho tendencies.”

Give credit to Ludacris. Cited as authority by the distinguished U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Maybe his next release will be a hornbook.

United States v. Murphy, 406 F.3d 857, 859 n.1 (7th Cir. 2005). Thanks to the several folks who sent this opinion.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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