Duane Weeks Jr., the 41-year-old son of former Elections Supervisor Kim Weeks, has a very long rap sheet–felony and misdemeanor convictions, numerous felony and misdemeanor charges, both on violent and non-violent offenses–and one prison stint. On Monday, he was sentenced to his second state prison term on three felony convictions.
But not before Weeks dueled with Circuit Judge Terence Perkins over the plea agreement he had just signed, trying and demanding that a no-contact order regarding the victim be removed, arguing points of law, accusing the county jail of being “corrupt” and slapping a “fake” charge on him, and the court of giving the victim “leverage” to allow a “hostile takeover of his property.”
“I don’t know what we’re going to do there but I don’t think that’s going to work for me,” Weeks said. “It’s a theft case. I don’t understand, there was no victim like as far as violence or anything. I don’t understand why there’s a no-contact.”
It is almost unheard of that a defendant tendering a plea would attempt to re-negotiate the plea agreement then and there with the judge, with the defendant’s attorney at his side, and with the sort of supercilious language Weeks used about the handling of his case–and about the judge, whose remarkable patience Weeks at one point rudely dismissed: “I’ll just take the deal, I don’t need the speech, I appreciate it, your honor,” he told Perkins, only to resume arguing moments later. But it was vintage Weeks: Duane was assuming the same postures and presumptions, the same aggrieved combativeness, portraying himself as a victim, that his mother had projected in different contexts on innumerable occasions when she was the elections supervisor or when she battled a felony case against her (which she lost) and civil actions that are still ongoing. (See: “Appeals Court Affirms Rulings Against Kimberle Weeks, Who Now Owes County Over $170,000 in Fees.”)
Perkins on Monday adjudicated Duane Weeks Jr. guilty on grand theft, battery, introduction of contraband at the county jail (the three felonies) and three misdemeanors, including threatening serious bodily harm on a law enforcement officer (“aint no fun when the rabbit has a gun,” he’d told a sheriff’s deputy as he was being driven to jail, asking him if he had kids. “I will tear your god damn ass up,” he told him, among the more printable threats he made.)
Weeks was facing potentially more than 15 years in prison and getting branded a habitual offender, which would aggravated his sentences. The judge, based on the plea devised between the defense and the prosecution, sentenced him to 15 months in prison–seven months less than the minimum in the state guidelines–followed by three years on probation, with possibility of early termination at the halfway point. Weeks had served 290 days in jail already, awaiting the disposition of his case. So nine months were credited to his sentence, reducing it to six months yet to be served, possibly as little as three or four, with gain time. That still won’t keep him from being transferred into the state prison system.
But Weeks said the no-contact order that would be in effect after his release, involving the very man with whom he’d had the dispute that led to the grand theft charge, would end up in a probation violation sooner or later. The grand theft charge was the result of Weeks stealing his neighbor’s tractor, and later alleging that he had an agreement to use a tractor. There’d been such an agreement, but it was five years old and was no longer in effect. Weeks had cut a lock to gain access to the property, hot-wired the tractor, and driven it off before a neighbor called the owner of the tractor.
Now, Weeks said, his neighbor could precipitate any kind of “contact” and force him into a violation of the order. Perkins repeatedly told him that’s not the case: Weeks has the right to be on his property, even if the neighbor is passing by. That’s not a violation. The violation would be a more direct sort of contact–verbal, written, phone, text. Weeks wouldn’t hear any of it, claiming his neighbor now has the run of his property, with parties and other trespassing.
“That sounds more like a civil action,” Raven Sword, his third court-appointed lawyer in the case, told him. He dismissed what she was saying.
Finally Perkins ended it: “Mr. Weeks, do you understand the offer?”
“Do you want to take it?”
“Are you sure?”
Weeks said he needed to get back to his family, and understood all the rights he was waving. Still, he argued. “I was appointed four lawyers and I don’t really feel like I would have gotten a fair shake in this county for a trial. That’s why I’m taking the plea. But that’s neither here nor there.” He complained that none of his witnesses had been deposed, no investigations had been done. “I’ve been sitting in county jail for 290 days, we just established, and nothing has been done in my case. I thought it was innocent until proven guilty, but apparently in this county, I’m not.”
Attorney Kurt Teifke, who’d been court-appointed to represent Weeks on Dec. 14, asked the court to withdraw two weeks ago, citing an “irreconcilable conflict.” In December, Weeks had asked that attorney Nicole Joran withdraw after Weeks complained of “:lack of communication, lack of investigation, and untimely filing of motions for relief.”
Assistant State Attorney Tara Libby said the downward departure,” or the lesser sentence, below the minimum recommended by the state guidelines, was warranted by Weeks’s acceptance of the plea, as was the waiving of the imposition of the status of habitual offender, but she said that status could be again in play.
“That means you could bring that back on me?” Weeks asked.
“If you qualify,” the judge said.
“Somebody will find out that I qualify. I’m Duane Weeks Jr.,” he said fatalistically.