A three-judge panel of the Fifth District Court of Appeal today unanimously upheld the guilty conviction of Kimberle Weeks, the former Flagler County Supervisor of Elections, on four counts, throwing out four others on double-jeopardy grounds.
The appeal court ordered the circuit court to re-sentence Weeks on the four counts. The excision of the four other counts doesn’t materially change three essential aspects of the case: the appeal court affirmed that Weeks is a felon four times over. Weeks will have to serve a month in jail and up to 18 months’ probation. And she will lose the state pension she accrued while supervisor.
The judgment is a severe blow against Weeks, who had contended all along that she would ultimately prevail. It was a victory for the State Attorney’s Office, particularly Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis, who had aggressively prosecuted Weeks as a crude, arrogant official who had abused her position and flouted the law, insulting other people in office while ironically casting herself as an anti-corruption crusader.
“We conclude that double jeopardy principles preclude convictions on four counts of unlawful interception of wire communications, but otherwise we affirm,” the opinion states.
“I’m glad it’s done and we’ve moved past it,” Lewis said today.
A jury convicted Weeks on seven counts and Weeks pleaded guilty on an eighth count. Seven of the counts regarded illegally recorded conversation. The eight regarded Weeks illegally transmitting an illegally acquired recording. The court upheld the transmission count and three of the seven counts of illegal recordings. It threw out the other four because the state had charged Weeks with separate counts for every person who was illegally recorded, even in circumstances where she was recording more than one person on the same call.
That was the case, for instance, when she recorded Ken Detzner, then the secretary of state, along with Gary Holland and Drew Atkinson, attorneys at the secretary of state’s office, even though Detzner had told Weeks he did not want to be recorded. The appeal court ruled that there could not be three separate convictions of Weeks for that one phone call, but just one. The same issue applied on another call, thus reducing the seven counts to three, plus the transmission count.
The state’s evidence, the court ruled, “established that, without the knowledge or consent of the other participants, Weeks recorded three separate phone conversations. One phone conversation was a conference call with four other individuals, a second phone conversation involved two other individuals, and a third call was a phone call with a single individual. The State’s evidence was sufficient to show that on these three occasions, Weeks intercepted wire communications in violation of” Florida law.
“Weeks argues that because there were only three recorded telephone calls,” the ruling continued, “double jeopardy principles preclude her from being convicted of more than three counts of unlawfully intercepting wire communications. In response, the State argues that because Weeks unlawfully intercepted communications of seven different individuals, she can be convicted on seven counts. We reject the State’s argument.” But the rejection affects the case in degree, not in substance.
“I understand the appellate court’s reasoning, it makes some legal sense, they’ve done that for other crimes too,” Lewis said after the ruling was handed down today.
“On remand,” the judges ruled, “the trial court shall enter judgment and sentence against Weeks on only three counts of unlawfully intercepting wire communications in addition to the one count of disclosing unlawfully intercepted wire communication.”
“I don’t think it changes anything but I’m not the judge,” Lewis said “Of course the defense can always ask for a re-sentencing to argue that the circumstances have changed.” But, he said, “I can’t say what a judge will or will not do, but in general it’s not going to change what happened during the evidentiary portion of the trial.”
The case on appeal was decided by Chief Judge Kerry Evander, Judge F. Rand Wallis and Judge Dan Traver, the latter joining the court just last November.
The decision to a lesser extent vindicates County Attorney Al Hadeed and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen, who had been at the center of what Weeks obsessively referred to as their “whispered conversation,” a conversation she caught on tape during a canvassing board meeting and, in a stew of repeated rumors, innuendos and baseless claims, fabricated into an allegation of corruption against Hadeed. Until then, Hadeed’s reputation, built on a long and influential career in local government and on cases with statewide ramifications, had been unsullied. Weeks maliciously and falsely sullied it. Today’s decision erases some of that blight, but not the multi-year history of Weeks’s claims, which extended well beyond the county attorney’s office.
The state initially included counts against Weeks for recording Hadeed and Ericksen, but the circuit court judge, Margaret Hudson, threw out the counts because the recording was found to have been made in the context of a public meeting, even if the material attendants at the meeting had moved to a different part of the supervisor’s office. It was that conversation, however, that was the springboard to the state’s case against Weeks. That case then uncovered numerous other conversations recorded without the consent of those being recorded–a third-degree felony in Florida, in any circumstance when those recorded have a presumption of privacy.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Philip Lindley served a warrant on Weeks when she was still the supervisor of elections, just before she resigned in January 2015. Lindley’s search uncovered the additional conversations. In her appeal, Weeks contended that Lindley’s testimony had been improperly “bolstered” by the state. The appeal court agreed, but found that “the admission of such testimony was harmless.” Weeks had also raised four other claims on appeal, all of which the court rejected.
Isn’t there a conviction on the one count of Weeks being generally nasty to the public, the press, and professionals in the court house??
Are you part of her political witch hunt Algernon? She is an honest woman that made the mistake not to seek witness protection. Very scary times in this county to all in danger of being made a sacrificial lamb to tech the rest to keep silent no matter what they see, in spite of our First Amendment and the FL Antislapp statute. Where is justice? I guess is hiding behind the local judiciary concern to be booted by the powers that be if not rule in their favor.
About time! Some individuals get in office and forget who they represent. The people who pay their salary.
The Geode says
All this bullshit for a month in jail? Whatever…
Mary Fusco says
Who the hell cares at this point in time. We have bigger fish to fry. Good God.
Now the tax payers have to feed her for a month.
Dedicated American says
This is corruption at its finest by our Flagler County judges and all
the past county board of county commissioners and the past county
administrator Craig Coffey and Attorney Al Hadeed. Check all the Flagler
county ethics complaints against Al Hadeed 4 ethics complaints, Craig Coffey 2 ethics
complaints, Charlie Ericksen 2 ethics complaints, Frank Meeker, George Hanns,
Barbara Revels 2 ethics complaints, and Nate McLaughlin. As per Bill Ritzmann, Supervisor PGCS claims services. Check the Attorney representing Flagler County on ethics complaints, Mark Heron who then represented all the county politicians and Al Hadeed. Mark Heron along with Hadeed were paid by the counties insurance and the county paid for Mark Herons fees. Mind you county residents we tax payers are paying for these corrupt representatives in your taxes.
Who was on the jury that convicted Kim Weeks. This whole issue has to be investigated. And the residents in Flagler County that have and will pass judgement on Kim are people that do not Know who she really is. I was an election worker for Kim Weeks and have sat in on canvassing board meetings. I was at a canvassing board meeting where Judge Attack and Al Hadeed wanted to remove portions of meetings minutes that the two did not want recorded. The wrong person is being prosecuted.
Al Hadeed, County Attorney says
The tactic you are using, listing a lot of complaints against a lot of public officials, is exactly what the Judge who heard all the evidence condemned. The Judge determined, after a trial on the evidence, that Ms. Weeks knowingly filed false allegations. The Judge also found she filed them with a malicious intent to injure the reputations of the public officials she charged.
Moreover, she was not accountable even during this process. Ms. Weeks refused to comply with the Judge’s orders to produce documents and emails, and she refused to sit for a deposition.
The Judge recommended an order against Ms. Weeks of $129,570 in favor of the County. This amount was to reimburse the County’s taxpayers for some of the County’s expenses in defending against her complaints. The Florida Commission on Ethics at another public hearing agreed to the fee award, and the First District Court of Appeal denied Ms. Weeks’ challenge to it.
Not surprisingly, given how she holds herself above the law, she failed to pay the judgment to reimburse the taxpayers of Flagler County.
The Attorney General for the State of Florida, Ashley Moody, thankfully took note. The Attorney General filed a new complaint against Ms. Weeks in the circuit court in Leon County to collect the delinquent judgment. The Attorney General is seeking a penal judgment with payment of interest at 6.83% dating from 2017 to the date payment is made. The Attorney General also is asking the court to order Ms. Weeks to reimburse the State of Florida for the Attorney General’s labor in having to procure this penal judgment.
As with her trial when the first judge found she had abused the process, Ms. Weeks also attempted to avoid the Attorney General’s service of process of the lawsuit. The Attorney General petitioned the circuit court in Leon County to authorize a private investigator to track Ms. Weeks and serve the paperwork on her due to her suspected evasive behavior. The investigator documented in his report to the court how she attempted to avoid service by hiding.
There also were similar judgments entered against the individuals Ms. Weeks worked with, including Mr. Dennis McDonald. The Attorney General just secured her penal judgment against Mr. McDonald for $79,564 for his false claims, also bearing interest at 6.83% until paid. He hasn’t paid a dime yet either, letting taxpayers take it on the chin while continuing to present himself as some kind of responsible citizen. Birds of a feather….
The anonymous blogger here also claims that the County Judge and myself as the County Attorney wanted to remove some portions of the Canvassing Board’s meeting minutes. We haven’t heard that allegation being repeated for several years. But the Florida Bar investigated that allegation along with numerous other allegations from Ms. Weeks. The Florida Bar worked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Commission on Ethics to look into the matters Ms. Weeks claimed. After that investigatory effort and a review and determination by an independent committee, the Florida Bar dismissed the allegations in 2016.
While Ms. Weeks has touted her so-called expertise in election matters, every allegation of wrongdoing or misfeasance in the elections ever asserted by Ms. Weeks, including the claimed illegality of Canvassing Board activities, was dismissed as lacking legal and factual merit. That includes her complaints made to the Florida Elections Commission, the Florida Commission on Ethics, and the Florida Secretary of State. That dismal official record rejecting all she has had to offer on elections and ethics includes the court cases with which she has been involved.
It is indeed ironic that as a convicted felon Ms. Weeks has lost her right to hold public office and to vote until she successfully completes her sentence. Moreover, while abusing the public trust as an elected official, she also leaves the taxpayers of Flagler County holding the bag for thousands of dollars of County expenses incurred and valuable time lost because of her political adventures.
That’s not much of a legacy for her, but I suspect it will be remembered for awhile.
Indeed yes. It is a disgrace, but things are copacetic now that the old gang is back in power again. s/off
Lock her ass up says
The damage is done to those people who had their reputation dragged through the mud. Wish she got much more jail time. 30 days is a joke. She will be out in 18 days. We can only pray she breaks probation and has to do real time.
Would be great if she had to repay some of her salary as well. Make an example of this corrupt official.
No comment Ms Weeks ? You sure had a lot to say before you were convicted.
This is what happens when someone tries to drain the swamp! So sorry Kim. I think you got a raw deal, Thanks for trying though!
Sure, it’s only a month behind bars…
But felonies last forever.
should have been a lot more than 30 days, so unfair to the Flagler County residents
The best thing that comes out of this trial is that Weeks is now a convicted felon and she loses her state pensions! One from when she was at the Clerk of Courts and then when she was SOE. That badly affects her entire life forever
More jail time says
Eighteen months is a freaking joke!! She should’ve been given more time. What she got was a slap on the wrist!!
just my thoughts says
Once again, the Flagler County Courts and State Judicial systems give a lenient sentence to someone that should have served more time. If you want to commit a crime come to Flagler County the judges will let you go in a heartbeat no matter the crime. And they will also allow you to continually appeal and appeal.
I feel, it is time to clean house and get some new county officials, and judges into our county, ones that truly work for the money they are being paid.