The Meek Mill case has become increasingly sketchy and bizarre since he was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for parole violations back in November.
There has been wild support for Meek in the court of public opinion. Jay-Z penned an op-ed for The New York Times, writing, “What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”
After Meek was sentenced, Philadelphians took to the streets to voice their support for the rapper. The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles adopted Meek’s anthemic “Dreams and Nightmares” as their rallying cry. Yet, despite the entire world advocating for Meek’s freedom, the rapper remains behind bars.
— Blavity (@Blavity) February 14, 2018
But a couple recent developments in the case seem to indicate Meek has a pretty damn solid chance of getting out.
First, the judge in this case, Justice Genece Brinkley, has repeatedly overstepped her boundaries since Meek’s first arrest at the age of 19 in 2007. Brinkley has requested an incredibly bizarre list of demands from Meek Mill, asking him to perform a Boyz II Men song and shout her out and move management teams to an associate of Brinkley’s.
Brinkley is even reportedly under FBI investigation for the way she has handled Meek’s case, claiming he was “a danger to his community” despite Meek Mill’s extensive work to help his Philadelphia community.
Seemingly because of all the public outrage and investigations into Brinkley’s behavior in the case, she has hired an attorney, a certain A. Charles Peruto Jr., who has gone after Meek Mill’s attorneys, claiming that Judge Brinkley is going to sue them. Peruto ranted in a video to TMZ:
“[Meek Mill’s lawyer] Joe Tacopina is a circus clown. He wasn’t there. Yet he gave all sorts of interviews saying the judge had this discussion trying to coach Meek into switching managers. It didn’t happen. And as soon as I got back, and I read that transcript, I told the Judge release the transcript because it completely flies in the face of his allegations. And he is not representing Meek Mill the proper way. He should fight these things in court and not have TV and newspaper publicity surrounding how bad the judge is. This is a very ethical jurist. And he’s going to get nowhere. We’re just trying to make sure the public understands, that she’s been smeared with lies. She’s been approached by outside people to call her trying to get her to change her mind what she’s going to do, which is highly unethical. Yet she’s the one being accused of doing unethical things.”
But as Margot Cleveland, professor of law at Notre Dame and 7th circuit judge, wrote in The Federalist (I know, The Federalist, but bear with me), that Brinkley’s attorney’s actions have improved Meek’s chances of getting out:
“With the ‘I told the Judge release the transcript,’ Peruto handed Mill a get-out-of-jail-free card, because it is inappropriate for a judge to allow an outside party — even her own attorney — to view a sealed document.”
Cleveland, who is a conservative judge, claims that Peruto’s knowledge of this transcript, which has been sealed since February 2016, has created an “irretractable conflict of interest.”
Meek’s attorneys have already filed a third motion to recuse Brinkley from the case and are citing the handling of the transcript as the main reason. The Legal Intelligencer analyzed the motion:
“Among other things, the eight-page motion references Brinkley’s decision to hire Philadelphia attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. and contends that Brinkley may have improperly made public a key transcript in the case that had been under seal since February 2016.”
On top of all the apparent improprieties of the judge, the arresting officer in Meek’s original case back in 2007, Reginald V. Graham, is on a list of officers (compiled by the Philly DA) known to lie under oath, racial bias, or abuse.
Meek’s attorneys are trying to overturn his original conviction, Page Six broke down their case:
“[Meek’s conviction] was based largely on officer Graham’s account, according to court records. Graham testified in Meek’s 2008 trial that police informants had seen Meek, then age 18, sell crack cocaine on the streets of Philadelphia – even though Meek denied he was there and was actually in court at the time supporting his cousin, which his lawyers say is a provable fact that was not considered.”
Between a judge who has clearly overstepped her boundaries to a police force known to manipulate evidence for convictions, this entire thing is foul.
Meek Mill has money to pay for lawyers but he’s still incarcerated for 2-4 years because of probation stemming from dubious charges when he was a teenager over a decade ago. There are too many Americans, especially Americans of color, that find themselves in similar situations to Meek Mill but don’t have the resources to change their circumstances.
When fucking Federalist contributors are saying the judge is in the wrong, you know the entire situation is screwed up.
Free Meek Mill.