Jay-Z: Not Exactly A Legal Genius, Law Professor Breaks Down ’99 Problems’

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Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Kimberly Rae Miller
Kimberly Rae Miller website: www.kimberlyraemiller.com
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Attention my law abiding friends: If you are pulled over by the police for any reason, quoting Jay-Z‘s “99 Problems” will not be of any help.

Caleb Mason, an associate professor of law at Southwestern Law School, recently broke down the legality of the song’s lyrics in a 19-page article in the Saint Louis University Law Journal  (via The HuffingtonPost).

The verdict: get a lawyer, one that is not Jay-Z.

Mason writes, “If this Essay serves no other purpose, I hope it serves to debunk, for any readers who persist in believing it, the myth that locking your trunk will keep the cops from searching it. Based on the number of my students who arrived at law school believing that if you lock your trunk and glove compartment, the police will need a warrant to search them, I surmise that it’s even more widespread among the lay public. But it’s completely, 100% wrong.”

If, per chance, you do find yourself being pulled over by the boys in blue, Mason’s suggestion is threefold:

“(1) don’t consent, (2) know the reasonable suspicion boilerplate and don’t provide it, and (3) make a record of the encounter any way you can, including your behavior, appearance, and demeanor before and during the stop, the officer’s stated motive for the stop, all of your responses to questioning, whether or not you were placed under arrest, and the exact amount of time you were held on the side of the road. And finally, most importantly, for both sides—when in doubt, talk to a lawyer. “

Or, you could not get in trouble to begin with, that’s also an option.


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