June 12, 2018
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied rapper Meek Mill's request to have Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley kicked off his case.
With three judges supporting the request and three denying it, the split decision issued Tuesday means Brinkley will continue to preside over his decade-old conviction. Justice Kevin Dougherty had recused himself from the case.
Mill, born Robert Williams, asked the court for a new judge while accusing Brinkley of being biased and acting inappropriately. She has presided over the 31-year-old Philadelphia rapper's 2008 drug and guns case since day one.
Brinkley had sentenced Mill to two to four years in prison in November for violating his probation, sparking outrage from fans and fellow celebrities who said the sentence was too harsh.
In April, the Supreme Court overruled Brinkley and ordered his release. In the decision, the Supreme Court didn't remove Brinkley form the case, but gave her the option to step down.
Mill's lawyers have alleged that Brinkley asked the rapper to remake a song by Boyz II Men and to give her a shout out in the cover, but when he laughed off the request, she told him "suit yourself," and the prison sentence followed.
His legal team filed the request to have Brinkley tossed Friday, arguing Brinkley has acted more like a prosecutor than a judge and has made inappropriate comments to the rapper both in and out of court.
In a dissenting opinion to Tuesday's ruling, Justice Max Baer wrote that Brinkley should have recused herself "as her continued involvement has created an appearance of impropriety that tends to undermine public confidence in the judiciary."
Although Justice David Wecht joined the denying opinion, he left the door open for Mill to raise the issue again at a hearing scheduled for June 18.
Mill's lawyers are currently working to have his original conviction thrown out. They point to "credibility issues" with Philadelphia police officer Reginald Graham, who was the main witness in his 2008 trial.
Graham was on a list kept by prosecutors of officers suspected of being untrustworthy. Graham falsely accused the then-19-year-old Williams of pointing a gun at him outside a Philadelphia drug house, according to testimony from another police officer.