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Rapper Meek Mill to appeal sentence that drew activists' ire

A judge in November 2017 sentenced him to two to four years in prison after a pair of arrests violated probation conditions relating to 2008 gun and drug convictions.

Rapper Meek Mill. Picture: @meekmill/Instagram.

NEW MEXICO - Rapper Meek Mill would on Tuesday 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 said illustrated 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 US legal system that treated minorities unjustly.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court would 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.