Home Entertainment Rapper Meek Mill heads back to court. This time there's a Palmer Township connection. – lehighvalleylive.com

Rapper Meek Mill heads back to court. This time there's a Palmer Township connection. – lehighvalleylive.com

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Rapper Meek Mill has been in and out of courtrooms trying to get his 2008 conviction on gun and drug charges overturned.

When he returns to court on Tuesday, July 16, it will be in front of a three-judge panel led by Superior Court President Judge Jack Panella, a Palmer Township resident.

Panella will be on the panel in Philadelphia with Judge Judith Olson and President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott. They’ll hear arguments from Mill’s attorney and prosecutors.

At stake is whether Mill’s conviction should be overturned due to questions about the credibility of the arresting officer.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, became a symbol for criminal justice reform after a Philadelphia judge sentenced him in 2017 to two to four years in prison for minor probation violations. He spent months in prison before a court ordered him released in April of last year.

The rapper has attracted support from a string of high-powered figures and celebrities, and he was a fixture at 76ers playoff games this spring. The Philadelphia Eagles rallied around Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” and the song was played when the team took the field during the Super Bowl.

Julia Hatmaker | For Pennlive.com

Within hours of being freed from prison, rapper and Philly native Meek Mill attended the 76ers playoff game against the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on April 24, 2018. He even rang the bell to start the game, along with his friend, actor Kevin Hart.

In May, Philadelphia’s top prosecutor called for a new trial and judge for Mill, saying Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley abused her discretion and has been biased against him. Brinkley, who denied Mill’s bid for a new trial last year, has rejected accusations of bias and refused calls to remove herself from the case.

“We’re looking forward to the oral argument before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and to, hopefully, having Meek’s conviction vacated,” Jordan Siev, Mill’s lawyer, said in a statement. “In light of the district attorney’s recent filing, where he supports the granting of a new trial to Meek and the recusal of Judge Brinkley, we hope to have this injustice rectified once and for all.”

Superior Court Judge Jack Panella of Palmer Township in 2013.

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Superior Court Judge Jack Panella of Palmer Township in 2013.

Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

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