PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office says Meek Mill should get a new trial with a different judge. District Attorney Larry Krasner filed the brief on Wednesday.
Krasner said Judge Genece Brinkley “created the appearance of partiality” and her court “abused its discretion” when sentencing the hip-hop artist to two to four years in prison in November 2017 for violating probation on a nearly 10-year-old gun charge. Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was released from jail in April 2018 after serving almost five months of the sentence before the state Supreme Court ordered his release on bond.
In the brief, Krasner stated Brinkley took the unusual measure of checking up on Mill while he was doing community service at a homeless shelter. Brinkley criticized the rapper for bagging clothes instead of serving homeless people food.
“Here, instead of asking a probation officer to visit the shelter to assess Williams’ compliance with the court’s community service requirement, Judge Brinkley personally assumed the role of investigator. No evidence suggests that the judge routinely made this type of unannounced personal visit to monitor her other probationers,” Krasner said.
Krasner stated that the “public perception of unfairness and bias is exactly what the court’s behavior has engendered here.”
“Appellant Williams should be awarded a post-conviction relief in the form of a new trial. In the alternative, his recusal motion should be granted and this matter should be remanded for a violation of probation hearing before a new judge,” Krasner said.
Mill’s attorneys have previously requested Brinkley be removed from the case.
“We are very pleased that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has confirmed to the Superior Court that Meek is entitled to have his conviction vacated. The brief is also significant in that it marks the first time the DA has publicly outlined in writing that it supports Judge Brinkley’s recusal based on her ‘appearance of partiality’ and ‘public perception of unfairness and bias,” said attorney Jordan Siev.
Mill has asked that his decade-old drug and gun convictions be thrown out because of credibility issues with the officer who testified against him. His lawyers noted several other convictions involving the same officer have been thrown out by a different judge and the district attorney’s office supported the request.
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