Adonis Diaries

Bob Dylan’s lyrics and ballades extensively cited: Arguments and decisions in court of law

Posted on: June 17, 2011

Bob Dylan’s lyrics and ballades extensively cited: Arguments and decisions in court of law

Are you familiar with Bob Dylan’s songs? Like “Chimes of Freedom”, “The Time, they are A-Changing”,  “Blowin’ in the Winds”, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”,and the ballades “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, “Hurricane”,

Current judges in the US have been citing Bob Dylans lyrics and ballades in arguments and decisions in court of law: The judges were big fans of Dylan’s songs in the 60’s and 70’s.  The judges are harvesting what impressed upon them in their youth and applying them in their verdicts in court of law.

For example, in “Chimes of Freedom” that says:

“We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing/

As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds/

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing/

Flashing for the warrior whose strength is not to fight/

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight/

An’ for each and every underdog soldier in the night/

An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing…

Illegal immigrants, liable for expulsion or repatriation were incarcerated for several years in prison.  Dylan song during the civil rights period was a catalyst for reviewing immigrant detention cases.

The case of the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was reviewed in 1985 and a judge managed to cancel the condamnation in 1985 because the case was based on racism and not on reason and due process of the law.

“All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance/

The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance…/

A traffic officer had stopped Rubin and found cartrideges in the car that were later linked to a triple murder done by some else.  These elements were supposed to be excluded from the file-case of the accusation, because the policeman had “no reasonable suspicion” and the cartradges were not receivable proofs.  Consequently, traffic officers have no longer the right of stop drivers without valid traffic violation…

What is the story of “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”?  A rich young man, William Zantziger, beat to death the servant Hattie for not responding quickly to the drink he ordered.  Zantzinger served only a 6-month term in prison.  Equitable punishment was raised as a priority hot case in court of laws.

A judge relied on “The Times are A-Changing” in the sexual discrimination case of an employer excluding contraceptive means in the assurance-medication plan to his employees.

A judge reminisces: “I don’t recall what was Dylan’s song, but adored the imagination, the words, words we never thought of associating; and ideas that grew in your head as you listened.  Suddenly, you are hearing a language talking the truth, something you were not used to hear on radio…”

Note: References to songs in court of law are many.  Bob Dylan registered the highest number of citation of 186, followed by the Beatles (74), Bruce Springsteen (69), Paul Simon (59), Woody Guthrie (43), Rolling Stones (39), Grateful Dead (32), Joni Mitchell (28), REM (27) citations.

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June 2011

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