The case of North Philly rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams (aka Meek Mill) has gripped the nation and the entire world, galvanizing celebrities, politicians, athletes and spawning protests. The movement has even birthed its own hastag: #FreeMeekMill. On Monday, April 16th at 9am in Courtroom 908 at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, a status hearing on a PCRA petition is scheduled to be heard in front of the Honorable Genece Brinkley. PCRA stands for Post Conviction Relief Act. Pennsylvania’s Post-Conviction Relief Act provides a mechanism for petitioners to attack their criminal convictions in the trial court and obtain a new trial or sentencing. Petitions can be extremely complicated and are difficult to win, but under the right circumstances, a PCRA Petition may allow Meek to obtain a new trial – possibly leading to his freedom.
Mill was sentenced to two-to-four years in prison in November for violating the terms of his probation in a decade-old gun and drug case. Earlier this month, Brinkley ruled Williams must remain in prison as he appeals for post-conviction relief.
The primary relief sought is to appeal the trial judges’s 2017 probation violation sentence due to her bias and to remand the case to a different judge to rule on the merits of the PCRA petition. This would have an effect on getting Mill released immediately (back to his probationary status) since his detention is a result of Judge Brinkley’s 2017 Order/Sentence for Probation Violation.
Mill’s conviction was based on the probable perjury of an arresting officer and the only witnesses whom the DA knew was an unreliable police witnesses. Because of this, the PCRA judge is a trial judge and which means he or she can dismiss the charges with prejudice.
The PCRA petition addresses the integrity of the 2007 case. There is a DO NOT CALL COPS list compiled by the DA’s office. Specifically, this list was not provided to the defense attorneys when these detective and officers had previously testified. The only prosecution witness was the arresting detective, Officer Reginald Graham who was on the D.A.’s list of DO NOT CALL COPS. Officer Graham was also the affiant on the search warrant. Mill’s lawyers have affidavits from two former officers who will assert Officer Graham perjured himself and that he assaulted Mill during the arrest.
The new D.A. Larry Krasner does not oppose Mill’s request for a bail pending a ruling on the PCRA petition before Judge Brinkley.
The underlying issue is whether Judge Brinkley was biased and her sentence for Meek Mill’s probation violation was excessive. She has refused to recuse herself and declared her sentence of 2-4 years was not “manifestly excessive.”