Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 21, 2023 – Survivors and family members will hold a press conference on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, Filbert Street at 12:30pm immediately following a court hearing to resolve more than 30 excessive probation and other problematic sentences imposed by Judge Genece Brinkley. This will be the fifth in a series of extraordinary hearings that have brought relief to scores of people who were sentenced by Brinkley before she was removed from the criminal court bench on September 6, 2022. Brinkley’s legacy sentences — featuring unusually harsh prison terms and long probationary periods that a now-sitting federal judge, Mia Perez, labeled “illegal sentences” — continue to clog the court’s docket and burden the probation system.
People who survived Brinkley’s courtroom — in some instances, under her supervision for decades — reported that Brinkley imposed excessively long probation terms, made repeated findings of probation or parole violations when a defendant could not meet her probation conditions, and failed to schedule court dates.
Jeffrey Flamer knows this all too well. Flamer, who was 24 when Brinkley sentenced him to prison on robbery and gun possession charges, recalls, “When I started my probation after spending 7 years in prison and parole, Brinkley insisted that I go to a specific in-patient treatment program. When I tried to explain to her that the in-patient program wouldn’t admit me based on my medical diagnosis, she violated my probation, held me in contempt, and ordered me back to prison.”
Brinkley missed the deadline for sentencing Flamer on the contempt charge and he was held in jail without a legal basis for more than 7 months. In January 2023, the head criminal court judge terminated Flamer’s probation after determining that there was no legal basis for Brinkley to have ordered him back to prison.
Although scores of Brinkley’s legacy cases have been reviewed and resolved since her ouster from the criminal court bench, only two of the four group hearings so far have received media coverage. Survivors, family members, and local activists believe the public deserves to hear the real life stories of those affected, many of whom upon review had their probation sentences terminated the same day. Others wait, hoping they will receive post conviction relief upon review of their cases Wednesday (before Judge Charles Ehrlich) and beyond.
“Judge Genece Brinkley charged my husband Shaheem Bryon Willis as an adult at the age of 17 and handed him essentially a life sentence, that is usually reserved for homicide,” said Vyneeka Hopkins. “I hope Judge Ehrlich will consider the harsh sentence he was given by Brinkley. He deserves a second chance. I hope they also consider his family. We need him here.”
Straight Ahead has organized a petition calling for Judge Genece Brinkley’s resignation.
About Straight Ahead
Straight Ahead is the 501(c)(4) arm of the Abolitionist Law Center, created with the goal of dismantling the carceral state. We fight alongside partner organizations, families, and formerly/currently incarcerated folks to win freedom for our people. Follow Straight Ahead on Facebook, @TowardAbolitionon on Twitter (X), and @TowardAbolition on Instagram.Follow Straight Ahead on Facebook, @TowardAbolitionon on X (Twitter), and @TowardAbolition on Instagram.
WHEN: Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at 12:30pm
WHERE: Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, Filbert Street
WHO: Survivors of Judge Brinkley’s Excessive Illegal Sentencing, Community Organizers
WHY: The public deserve to hear the real life stories of survivors who have experienced injustice and tremendous loss