The Philadelphia judge overseeing rapper Meek Mill’s probation case must quickly decide whether or not he should be granted bail, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Tuesday.
The decision came as the higher court denied an emergency motion for writ of habeus corpus — filed hours before — asking that Mill be released on bond as his case is reviewed.
Attorneys for Mill say Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley has ignored their motions asking for bail and that she recuse herself from the case. That led them to appeal to the higher court. But the Superior Court kicked the case back to Brinkley saying she must make a ruling before they can hear any appeal.
"The Court of Common Pleas is directed to enter a disposition of Petitioner's November 16, 2017 motion for bail without further delay," the ruling states.
Brinkley will also need to send a brief explanation about her decision — whatever it may be — to the Superior Court.
The quick decision pleased Mill’s legal team, which has been exploring many legal avenues to get the Philly-born rapper, whose legal name is Robert Williams, out of a state prison in Chester, Pennsylvania.
"We’re pleased that the Superior Court took immediate action to direct the Court of Common Pleas to decide on the application for bail "without further delay." We remain hopeful that Mr. Williams will be promptly released on bail," attorney Jordan Siev said in a statement.
Tuesday's legal wrangling is the latest chapter in a decade-long saga over Mill's freedom.
The 30-year-old is nearly a month into a 2 to 4 year prison sentence for violating probation.
The probation stems from a 2007 arrest for drug possession and carrying a firearm without a license. He was convicted two years later and placed on parole after spending several months in jail.
The sentence has been called harsh and unfitting of the lapses, which included an alleged fight in the St. Louis airport and performing tricks on a dirt bike in New York City. Prosecutors had recommended no jail time, but Brinkley felt otherwise.
Two weeks ago, Mill was mistakenly granted a bail hearing after a court clerical error. The hearing was canceled later that day.
Brinkley has not commented on the controversy since she's barred from doing so by court rules.
The decision comes a day after prominent civil rights activist and MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton visited Mill in Chester prison.
Sharpton has joined a growing chorus of people who see Mill's case as an example of unfair and harsh treatment of African-American and Latino people in the criminal justice system.
Mill's management company, Roc Nation, and friends like rap mogul Jay-Z and Philadelphia 76ers minority owner Michael Rubin have launched an advertising campaign to #FreeMeekMill on social media and outdoors with billboards, bus shelter posters, and bus signage.
Jay-Z penned an op-ed in The New York Times saying Mill's case demonstrates how the criminal justice system “entraps and harasses” African-Americans.