Rapper Meek Mill to appeal sentence that drew activists' ire - Metro US

Rapper Meek Mill to appeal sentence that drew activists’ ire

Meek Mill

(Reuters) – Rapper Meek Mill on Tuesday will appeal a Pennsylvania judge’s decision to sentence him to up to four years in prison for probation violations in a case that criminal justice reform advocates say illustrates racial bias in the system.

A judge in November 2017 sentenced the “All Eyes on You” singer, whose legal name is Robert Williams, to two to four years in prison after a pair of arrests violated probation conditions relating to 2008 gun and drug convictions.

The arrests, for popping a wheelie while shooting a New York City music video and an altercation in St. Louis, did not result in convictions.

The hefty sentence became a cause celebre for musicians, celebrities and criminal justice reform campaigners who said it was typical of a U.S. legal system that treats minorities unjustly.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court will hear arguments on Tuesday over Mill’s treatment by Philadelphia judge Genece Brinkley who handed down the sentence and sent him to jail for the probation violations. Brinkley is also black.

Meek Mill was jailed for five months before the state’s top court granted him bail following a campaign to demand his release.

The 32-year-old rapper has become one of the most visible and active proponents for criminal justice reform in the music industry, teaming up with artists such as Jay-Z to form the REFORM Alliance in January.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown)

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