Lawyers for Philadelphia rapper will ask an appeals court to overturn a 2008 drug and gun conviction that's kept the Philadelphia rapper on probation for a decade and drawn accusations of racial bias in the justice system.

Rapper Meek Mill departs after lawyers from both sides made a brief statement to the judge in a retrial hearing in court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US July 16, 2019.
Rapper Meek Mill departs after lawyers from both sides made a brief statement to the judge in a retrial hearing in court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US July 16, 2019. (Reuters)

Rapper Meek Mill on Tuesday will 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 say illustrates racial bias in the system.

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 treats minorities unjustly.

Proponents for criminal justice reform

The Pennsylvania Superior Court will 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.

Source: Reuters