Kimberle Weeks, the former Flagler County supervisor of elections, is a convicted felon.
Weeks was sentenced this afternoon to a month in jail and 18 months’ probation, the culmination of a three-year case that ended the political career of the most controversial constitutional officer in Flagler County in recent memory.
“At the end of the day what Ms. weeks did completely and utterly decimated this community. It was a complete disregard for everything she swore to uphold when she took office,” Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis said in his argument to the court this afternoon.
A jury had found Weeks guilty on the seven charges in a four-day trial at the beginning of April
The sentence is on appeal. Weeks was to be booked at the Flagler County jail (for the second time in three years), but was expected to be immediately bonded out pending the resolution of her appeal. The bond is set at $25,000. Only if the appeal fails would she then have to report to jail.
Circuit Judge Margaret Hudson adjudicated her guilty on seven third-degree felony counts of illegally recording public officials without their consent, and forbade her to travel anywhere beyond the borders of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, even as the appeal proceeds, without permission of the court. The circuit includes St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties.
The jail time is a particular humiliation to Weeks, but the conviction also means that as a convicted felon, she must surrender her weapons–Weeks was fond of packing a gun wherever she went–since convicted felons are not allowed to possess or own firearms. And she will lose her substantial state pension.
She will also be required to pay $518 in court costs and $2,871 in investigative costs. Lewis, who prosecuted the case since its inception in 2015, had asked for $33,000 in investigative costs, which included the wages of investigators who worked on the case.
Weeks listened to the 50-minute sentencing proceedings with little emotion, propping her chin on her left hand at the defense’s table most of the time, and straining to avoid giving reporters and photographers in the courtroom a more frontal look.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza was in the courtroom for much of the sentencing, but left before it was completed. County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen was also in the courtroom, as he had been for many of the innumerable proceedings that had led to that point. It was a conversation between Ericksen and County Attorney Al Hadeed that Weeks secretly recorded that had been at the origin of the case against her. The criminal charge built from that conversation, however, was dismissed: the judge found it to have been recorded in an area of the supervisor’s office, and in the context of a nearby meeting, that gave Hadeed and Ericksen no expectation of privacy. Several other similar charges were dismissed.
Not so the charges resulting from conversations Weeks recorded in clear violation of law and participants’ expectations of privacy. Her attorney had argued that simply because she was recording public officials discussing public business, none of the conversations
could be considered private in any sense. The jury disagreed.
Only two witnesses addressed the court, including, for the prosecution, Virginia Smith, Palm Coast government’s clerk, who had been one of Weeks’s victims: not only had Smith been recorded without her consent, but Weeks had bullied Smith as she had many of the officials she interacted with during her troubled tenure as supervisor, when Palm Coast government and the County Commission were only two of the governments that suffered Weeks’s temper tantrums and legal maneuvers.
Citing President Reagan describing the right to vote as “the crown jewel of American liberties” whose “luster” should not be diminished, Smith said Flagler citizens saw that right’s luster diminished by Weeks’s “attack on our fundamental right. Taxpayer’s lost money. Her crimes stole citizens’ privacy.”
Addressing Weeks directly, and her voice on the verge of breaking, Smith said: “Ms. Weeks, you had a moral, ethical duty and a legal duty to conduct yourself to a much higher standard. The people of Flagler County trusted in you, trusted in our fundamental constitutional right to vote. Your crimes cost money, but more importantly they damaged trust-the trust of Flagler County citizens and voters.” (See Smith’s full statement below.)
Kevin Kulik, Weeks’s attorney, objected to affidavits from individuals not present in the courtroom, and that Lewis introduced from Ken Detzner and Gary Holland. Detzner, the secretary of state, and Holland, the chief counsel at the state department–both of whom testified at Weeks’s trial–co-authored a strongly worded statement about Weeks, saying she “brought discredit” on her constitutional office with conduct that reflects “complete lack of respect for the law.” Her criminal conduct “totally unbecoming of a constitutional officer,” describing her behavior along the way as slanderous of individuals and contemptuous of the law, among other abuses. They see her conviction as a deterrent to others who might think of doing likewise, and they asked that jail time be part of the sentence.
First, I thank the court for overseeing this case so carefully. Also, I thank ASA Lewis and the State for their diligent prosecution of this matter. I am grateful for the judicial process. Crimes were recognized as being committed, investigated, and prosecuted. Crimes that most do not understand or refuse to acknowledge that the crimes mattered. But these crimes did hurt many people and organizations.
Ms. Weeks was our former supervisor of elections. She was responsible for our County’s elections; responsible for securing the people’s fundamental right to democracy. President Ronald Reagan said, “The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.” The citizens of Flagler County have seen its luster diminished by Ms. Weeks attack on our fundamental right. Taxpayer’s lost money. Her crimes stole citizens’ privacy.
Ms. Weeks, you had a moral, ethical duty and a legal duty to conduct yourself to a much higher standard. The people of Flagler County trusted in you, trusted in our fundamental constitutional right to vote. Your crimes cost money, but more importantly they damaged trust-the trust of Flagler County citizens and voters.
For the past four years, I listened to those who did not understand or acknowledge that these crimes mattered. These crimes did matter. I always treated you professionally and with respect, even while you did so much to disrupt the rights of all voters and multiple governmental organizations. As a dedicated public servant, I had to rise above the utter chaos you caused while you served as the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections. Your crimes negatively impacted many but my office, in particular, as the face of voting for Palm Coast. While the indictment and the guilty verdict have provided some satisfaction for me, now, more importantly, everyone knows the truth. I am relieved these days of conflict are over.
Your Honor, I respectfully request that you sentence Ms. Weeks to what is fair and just under the law for the crimes she committed.