Criminal Justice

Rapper Meek Mill's 12-Year Probation Nightmare Finally Comes to an End

Mill's legal problems are now over, but he remains involved in efforts to push for important probation reforms.

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Rapper Meek Mill (real name: Robert Rihmeek Williams) has successfully ended a 12-year legal fight in Philadelphia that shined a national spotlight on serious problems with America's probation system.

Mill, who is now 32 years old, was arrested as a 19-year-old for drug and gun charges. A police officer claimed Mill pointed a gun at him. Mill denied the charges but pleaded guilty and served eight months in prison. Then he was put on probation for five years, and that's when his life somehow managed to get worse.  The judge overseeing Mill's probation, Genece Brinkley, seemed to have an ax to grind with Mill, frequently lecturing him, extending his probation, and then ultimately threatening him with prison time for a scuffle in an airport with paparazzi (the charges were dropped) and an absurd arrest for popping a wheelie on his dirtbike in Manhattan while not wearing a helmet.

Brinkley sentenced him to two to four years in prison, and he served another five months before higher courts in Pennsylvania intervened and removed Brinkley from the case. Furthermore, as investigators went back to examine the initial arrest they discovered that the cop responsible was later fired from the police department for lying and theft. Another officer on the scene said that Mill was not brandishing the gun at the officer, but attempting to discard it.

In July, Mill was granted a new trial for those initial charges. Yesterday he resolved the case by pleading to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a gun in public. There will be no additional punishment. No more jail time and, just as significantly, no more probation. After he left court Tuesday he thanked his many supporters:

It may be the end of Mill's legal troubles, but it's not the end of his criminal justice activism. Mill's fame as a rapper helped highlight a chronic problem that persists in many places around the country and doesn't get nearly enough attention: Probation, rather than being a tool to justify shorter jail sentences by monitoring people after release, has become a form of punishment of its own, subjecting people to the capricious whims of judges and probation officers looking for reasons to send them back to jail. Long probation terms (like Mill's) do not prevent mass incarceration but actually fuel it, in addition to saddling poor people with extensive fines and court fees they have to pay if they want to stay free.

Mill, along with his friend Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, launched Reform Alliance, an organization devoted to trying to fund reforms to probation and parole laws to make them less oppressive. They're among several criminal reform groups pushing for Pennsylvania to pass legislation that would set caps on how long a person may be on probation and forbid courts from extending somebody's probation as punishment for being unable to pay fines or fees. He said yesterday he would continue his efforts:

A five-part docuseries released in August on Amazon Prime called Free Meek documents the rapper's struggles. Check it out here.

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11 responses to “Rapper Meek Mill's 12-Year Probation Nightmare Finally Comes to an End

  1. …pushing for Pennsylvania to pass legislation that would set caps on how long a person may be on probation and forbid courts from extending somebody’s probation as punishment for being unable to pay fines or fees.

    In case he hasn’t been paying attention, the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the even greater sh*thole City of Filthadepthsia needs that fee money and those correctional jobs.

  2. But how will the the fuzz squeeze some moop into giving them the skinny, if not by threatening their probation?

  3. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do

    …….. Read More

  4. I had a friend that was re-sent to jail because he violated his probation by not living at the exact address the court ordered him to.

    Why wasn’t he living at the proper address? His father kicked him out for being gay.

    America is a police state.

  5. for popping a wheeling

    Those damn kids with their raps and shoot-em-ups and twitbooks!

  6. “shined a national spotlight on serious problems with America’s probation system.”

    “The judge overseeing Mill’s probation, Genece Brinkley, seemed to have an ax to grind”

    I fail to see how the 2 are related myself!
    But @reason has – maybe just to write another article.

  7. And he will not now have a record as a convicted felon, which is also important but not even mentioned directly.

  8. “Yesterday he resolved the case by pleading to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a gun in public.”

    Is that the same thing as bearing arms?

  9. “A police officer claimed Mill pointed a gun at him.”

    If he did, why wasn’t he shot? Or perhaps the charge was…exaggerated?

    1. In other words, you’d think the cop would have shot him instead of bringing him to trial – if the charges were true.

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