Meek Mill was handed an important legal victory on Wednesday morning, as a Philadelphia appeals court threw out his 2008 conviction on gun and drug charges that had kept the rapper on parole for more than a decade, and made him a highly visible advocate for criminal justice reform.
Now officially off probation, the 32-year-old had petitioned the court for a new trial after evidence came to light that the police officer who testified in his case had been placed on an internal “do not call list” for officers accused of misconduct, whose testimony might not hold up in court. It is unclear whether the Philadelphia D.A.’s office, which supported Meek’s request for a new trial, will opt to retry the case or simply drop the charges.
In the decision, the judges wrote: “We conclude the after-discovered evidence is of such a strong nature and character that a different verdict will likely result at a retrial.”
The unanimous three-judge decision also threw out Meek’s probation violation ruling that sent him to prison for five months in 2017 – sparking protests and making him a national cause célèbre for justice reform – as well as removing the judge, Genese Brinkley, who had overseen the rapper’s case since 2008.
In a statement, Meek wrote: “I’d like to thank the Pennsylvania Superior Court judges for their wisdom and transparency in reviewing my case, unanimously overturning my conviction and granting me a new trial. The past 11 years have been mentally and emotionally challenging, but I’m ecstatic that justice prevailed.
“Unfortunately, millions of people are dealing with similar issues in our country and don’t have the resources to fight back like I did,” he added, pledging to continue advocating for criminal justice reform through his foundation, the REFORM Alliance.
The news comes on the heels of a morning announcement that Meek is setting up his own label, Dream Chasers, as a joint venture with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. His last album, “Championships,” debuted at No. 1 on the album chart last winter. “Free Meek,” a five-part Amazon Prime docuseries on Meek’s legal battles, is scheduled for release next month.