A judge has denied rapper Meek Mill's request to have his 2008 conviction for selling drugs and illegal gun possession thrown out based on accusations of an untrustworthy arresting officer.
The Common Pleas judge who has long presided over his case and decade-long probation, Genece Brinkley, issued a 47-page decision Monday night that denied his appeal under the Post Conviction Relief Act.
Brinkley's ruling came a week after a two-hour evidentiary hearing during which the rapper's lawyers asked Brinkley to reconsider the initial conviction. The judge showed skepticism over the PCRA request during the June 18 hearing.
Brinkley appeared disinclined to use the credibility of former Philadelphia police officer Reginald Graham, who is among a group of officers on an internal "Do Not Call" to testify list kept by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office, as a stand-alone reason to have Mill's conviction overturned.
"We already know this is going to another court," Brinkley said in court.
Last week, Mill's legal team argued that the PCRA process has not been questioned in such a way since the proceedings started in 1995. In that time, more than 1,000 cases have been thrown out. Mill's case appears to be an anomaly, the defense said.
"We are not at all surprised by Judge Brinkley's decision today," Mill's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said in a statement to NBC10. "We continue to believe that this miscarriage of justice will be corrected upon further review, and that the public’s confidence in the impartiality of the judicial system in Pennsylvania will be restored.”
It is not yet known if defense attorneys for Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, will appeal Brinkley's ruling.
Mill was originally sentenced to 11 to 23 months following his conviction on the 2007 gun and drug offenses. Last year, Brinkley found him in violation of his 10-year probation and immediately sentenced him to 2 to 4 years in prison. He served five months before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered him freed while his appeal of Brinkley's sentence was pending.
For a complete timeline of the decade-plus court drama in and out of the courtroom involving Mill and Brinkley, click here.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for more details as they become known.