No more probation, charges; Meek Mill off the hook

PHILADELPHIA — Rapper Meek Mill is no longer facing any criminal charges, for the first time in 12 years.

Tuesday, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the case Commonwealth v. Robert Williams (Meek Mill’s legal name) was resolved in a plea bargain:

“Today, Robert Williams (Meek Mill) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor firearms violation that he committed at the time of his arrest in Philadelphia, more than a decade ago. All other charges have been dropped. His negotiated sentence is No Further Penalty, meaning there is no further sentence of incarceration and no further supervision (on probation or parole),” Krasner wrote in a statement.

Late Tuesday morning, he and Assistant D.A. Paul George held a news conference to discuss the situation, including the decision to drop all remaining charges against the 32-year-old.

In 2008, Mill was convicted of drug dealing and gun possession. Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced him to 11-23 months in prison followed by eight years of probation.

Then, he was released and the probation was cut to five years, but that’s when a longer amount of trouble started.

Judge Brinkley found Mill guilty of parole violations and he served sentences of community service, house arrest and even jail time.

Mill appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, citing potential mishandling of his arrest by the police officer, and a reported FBI investigation into Judge Brinkley, who presided over his case.

He had support from D.A. Krasner.

In April, 2018, Mill was released pending the outcome of the appeal. He co-founded the nonprofit REFORM Alliance to change the criminal justice system’s laws and policies, starting with probation and parole.

Then, exactly 15 months after Mill’s release, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial with a different judge — but the district attorney would have to prosecute him.

That never happened.

According to D.A. Krasner,

“Following a careful review by my office of Mr. Williams’ decade-plus-long involvement in the justice system, I know two things to be true: Mr. Williams was unfairly treated in a case that exemplifies the destruction caused by excessive supervision, instances of corruption, and unfair processes in our criminal courts; and Mr. Williams was also guilty of illegally possessing a firearm on the day he was arrested, a fact that he has established by his own testimony and public statements for years.

D.A. Krasner continued,

“Mr. Williams has demonstrated significant rehabilitation; he has evolved and grown. This office commends him both for taking responsibility for his crime and for his work to improve society by changing a criminal justice system that too often lacks integrity, is biased, is unfair, and is overly punitive in ways that make us all less safe. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is hopeful that Mr. Williams will continue his good work in ways that will help the criminal justice system to similarly evolve and grow.”

The REFORM Alliance celebrated Mill’s freedom.

The group mentioned two bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

  • HB1555, which was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on May 30, and
  • SB14, which was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 24.

In the meantime, a new documentary series, “Free Meek,” executive-produced by Jay-Z, premiered on Amazon Prime Video earlier this month.

For the record, these recent tweets also appear on Meek Mill’s feed, posted the day before the one above.

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