Meek Mill granted fresh chance to overturn conviction with new trial, new judge

Rapper Meek Mill is seen during REFORM Alliance campaign for criminal justice reform to introduce House Bill 1925 on April 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Philly rapper Meek Mill was granted a new trial and judge, and a fresh chance to argue against the rapper’s 2008 gun and drug conviction, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Superior Court granted Meek a hearing after years of vying for a chance to argue to get his conviction overturned due to questions about the credibility of the arresting officer. 

“We’re looking forward to the oral argument before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and to, hopefully, having Meek’s conviction vacated,” Mill’s attorney Jordan Siev said in a statement. “In light of the District Attorney’s recent filing, where he supports the granting of a new trial to Meek and the recusal of Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley, we hope to have this injustice rectified once and for all.” 

Meek Mill, real name Robert Rihmeek Williams, became a symbol for criminal justice reform after Brinkley sentenced him to two to four years in prison for minor probation violations.

Problems between Meek and Brinkley go way back, according to Rolling Stone.

Brinkley, who sentenced Meek to 90 days of house arrest after a February 2016 probation violation sentenced him to 11 to 23 months following his conviction in 2008.  

Then in March 2017, Meek was charged with misdemeanor assault following a scuffle at an airport, and was arrested in New York for popping wheelies on his dirt bike without a helmet, and served five months before the Supreme Court ordered him freed while his appeal of Brinkley’s sentence was pending last April. 

Brinkley sentenced the rapper to 2 to 4 years in prison of violating his 10-year probation, citing failed drug test, failure to comply with a court order restricting his travel, and the misdemeanor charges. 

Defense attorneys called for a new trial and judge for Meek on several occasions, claiming that the Common Pleas Judge abused her discretion and has held bias against him. Brinkley rejected the accusations and refused recuse herself from the case before filing a 48-page opinion to the Superior Court that Mill’s sentence is “reasonable.” 

Two months later, Meek’s team demanded the conviction be tossed based on the involvement of former Philadelphia police officer Reginald Graham, the only officer involved in Meek’s arrest who is on a “Do Not Call” to testify list due to alleged corruption issues, after a slew of overturned convictions. According to NBC Philly, Brinkley issued a 47-page denial under the Post Conviction Relief Act a week later.

The Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed an appeal for a retrial last month, pointingn to a “public perception of unfairness and bias,” and a time when the judge showed up at a homeless shelter to check on the rapper while he worked his community service requirements among other instances where Brinkley allegedly overstepped her duties as a judge. 

The public outcry in support for Meek peaked when Jay Z’s label Roc Nation, who Meek is signed with, urged fans sign the petition addressed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asking the state to reevaluate his sentence.

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