The Philly judge who sentenced rapper Meek Mill to two to four years in prison on probation violations last month has not had her opinion swayed one iota by the massive national outpouring of criticism of her sentence, she said in a new ruling.
Judge Genece Brinkley on Monday denied a bail motion filed by defense attorneys for Meek, 30, real name Robert Rihmeek Williams, and wrote that the rapper remains “a danger to the community.”
The decision was denounced by Meek's attorney Joe Tacopina, who has claimed Brinkley is biased against the rapper.
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"As stated on multiple occasions, he has never missed a previous court date in this case and poses absolutely no threat to the community, which makes him an ideal candidate for bail — a conclusion the Commonwealth did not oppose," Tacopina said in a statement. "We intend to immediately appeal this decision, so Mr. Williams can be released from prison on bail while we continue to work to overturn this wrongful and unjust sentence."
Tacopina is requesting Brinkley recuse herself from Meek's case, which she has overseen since his 2007 arrest and subsequent eight-month prison sentence for illegal possession of a gun.
Tacopina has claimed that in sending Meek to prison, against the wishes of prosecutors and probation officers, Brinkley was acting on a personal vendetta against the rapper.
Meanwhile, organizers from a coalition of social justice groups organizing on behalf of Meek Mill and criminal justice reform added fuel to the fire when they announced on Monday the discovery of some omissions in Brinkley's personal financial disclosure forms. (Brinkley declined to comment on her disclosure forms or personal holdings.)
“It does establish a pattern of unethical behavior for this judge,” attorney Jessica Jackson Sloan, national director of #cut50, a criminal justice reform group, said of the revelations in Brinkley's disclosure forms. “If we can't trust a judge or public servant to be transparent and ethical, I don’t think they should be trusted with power over people like Meek’s lives.”
Sloan wants the court system to investigate Brinkley's disclosure forms over discrepancies related to her Frankford property on the 5000 block of Penn Street. Brinkley is still listed as co-owner of the property in city records, but it does not appear on disclosure records after 2010 viewed by Metro.
Other properties, including two others in Frankford on Wakeling Street, also appear then disappear from disclosure forms.
Sloan wants the court system to review Brinkley's holdings and disclosure forms for any other improprieties, she said.
"She's been given a lot of power over Meek Mill," Sloan said. "I’ve got some serious questions about whether she should have that power, given her failings to act in a credible manner. … Meek is fortunately enough a celebrity … but it scares me to think how many other people have come to her courtroom and may have also been subjected to unethical treatment."