The jailing of Meek Mill for probation violations has had the effect of shining a light not just on our criminal justice system, but also the individuals who operate within, and maintain, that system. In Meek’s case, it’s Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who has handled Meek’s probation for nine years, culminating in the current two-to-four year sentence, handed out last November, for which he currently sits in prison.
Brinkley, as Spin reported in December, took a highly personal interest in Meek’s affairs, showing up to supervise his probation and frequently reprimanding him from the bench for perceived disrespect. A new article in Rolling Stone about Meek’s life and history with Philadelphia’s police and courts contains new information about Brinkley, revealing ways in which she has used both her status as a judge and legal acumen to hound private citizens and enrich herself.
The stories focus mostly on Brinkley’s side hustle of being a landlord. Per Rolling Stone, Brinkley has been a party in dozens of civil suits (both as plaintiff and defendant) stemming from disputes with her tenants. In 2007, Rolling Stone reports that Brinkley sued to evict a woman named Anna Torres, whose son had previously been diagnosed with lead poisoning after living in one of Brinkley’s units. Torres countersued and won, but told Rolling Stone that she and her husband received intimidating phone calls from one of Brinkley’s courtroom subordinates, who at one point allegedly said, “Don’t show up in court. You are going to lose, because she knows people in the system.”
Rolling Stone writes about a man named Matthew Edinger, who says that Brinkley suddenly bought the home he was living in, sharply increased the rent, and forced him out even after his mother called Brinkley and asked her to treat with more compassion because his infant son had recently died of SIDS. Another case is that of Richie Pacell, a Philly cop who was hired by Brinkley to do work on his home. Eventually Brinkley fired him and accused of him burglary, calling the police to investigate, and after that failed to yield an arrest, notifying Internal Affairs and eventually taking Pacell to small claims court. According to the man who replaced Pacell on the job, who is also Pacell’s friend, Brinkley emailed him a script of questions and answers for the hearing in small claims court, which the friend said consisted almost entirely of lies written for him by Brinkley. (Brinkley eventually won $11,500.)
The story is worth reading in full for a complete contextualization of the circumstances surrounding Meek’s lifetime of legal troubles, which, per a myriad of sources who spoke to Rolling Stone, all stems from one incident reported by a cop known to have lied about the circumstances of arrests throughout his career. From there, Meek was shuttled to Judge Brinkley, who has maintained an unwavering belief in the law’s ability to settle personal grievances with those at her mercy both inside and outside of the courtroom.
This article originally appeared on Spin.