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HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK WINS VICTORY FOR HIP-HOP
STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF HSAN AND
DECLARES SECTIONS OF STATE LOBBYING LAWS
ALBANY, N.Y. – AUGUST 18, 2004 – The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network claimed a major victory yesterday when State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Malone ruled in favor of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons and Dr Benjamin Chavis, its Chairman and President, respectively, citing that sections of the New York State Lobbying Laws are unconstitutional and don’t give those facing possible penalties the right to be heard. Malone ruled that two sections of the Lobbying Act ³violate the due process clauses of both the New York state and the United States constitutions in failing to provide for notice and a hearing prior to the commission determining whether a person or entity has knowingly and willfully violated the Lobbying Act."
The ruling came as a result of an investigation by the New York State Commission on Lobbying into the June 2003 rally by the HSAN to protest the unfairness of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.
Russell Simmons declared, ³The fact is, we should have the right to express our opinions about laws we deem unjust. I’m happy about this ruling because, going forward, you won’t have to be a millionaire to say what’s on your mind or stand up for your rights."
³The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is pleased that State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Malone ruled in our favor by finding that sections of the New York State Lobbying Law were in violation of our constitutional rights," emphasized Dr. Benjamin Chavis. ³The right to due process and the right to freedom of speech are very important, not only to the hip-hop community, but to all Americans. We, however, restate our commitment to raise public awareness about the unfairness of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which are the most egregious of the mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the nation. We will not be silenced and, with today’s ruling, we will step up our pace in raising awareness on this issue. This is an significant victory for hip-hop."