Incarcerated rapper Remy Ma lost an appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals on Thursday (February 24), upholding the original eight-year prison sentence she received, stemming from a 2007 shooting.
The decision by the state’s highest court ended the rapper’s (real name: Remy Smith) attempt to overturn assault and weapon possession convictions that her legal team argue were the result of trial errors which lead to her being found guilty.
During her trial, the judge called Remy “a young woman whose anger is out of control.” At the time of her sentencing, she cried after hearing the judge hand down the eight year sentence.
In the closing arguments of the trial, Remy’s attorney Ivan Fisher argued that Makeda Joseph’s (shooting victim) testimony actually supported his client’s explanation of the shooting as an accident.
Makeda and Remy Ma were celebrating a birthday with friends in July 2007 at the Pizza Bar in Manhattan’s trendy meatpacking district, when the rapper accused Joseph of stealing $3,000 from her pocketbook. Then, Remy demanded to search Joseph’s purse, while clutching a handgun. When Joseph refused, a struggle began. The gun went off twice, with two bullets hitting Joseph in the abdomen.
Remy filed an appeal in November 2009, arguing that the trial judge should have allowed her attorney to argue during his summation that Joseph could have been shot as both women struggled over the gun, said the Associated Press, which would mean it was accidental.
However, it was disallowed, which Remy’s attorneys said violated her constitutional right to mount a defense, leaving the jury with a question of only whether she shot Joseph intentionally or accidentally.
The Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday found that the judge’s instruction, on the whole, was proper, though one sentence wasn’t accurate. However, the Court of Appeals ruled that the charge to the jury before and after that sentence made it clear that “the central duty of the jury was to decide whether the charged crimes had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Thus, the sentence of eight years was upheld.
If Remy doesn’t succeed in another further appeals, she may remain behind bars until 2016.