By Samuel Chamberlain, NY Post
April 3, 2022 Updated 5:11pm
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson doled out a lenient sentence to a child rapist for violating probation — and he allegedly struck again during the time when prosecutors wanted him locked up, The Post has learned.
The Biden nominee’s handling of sex offender Leo Weekes’ case emerged in a tranche of court filings and transcripts sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday — just days before the panel is set to vote on whether to report her nomination to the full Senate.
While Republicans have previously highlighted Jackson’s practice of giving the lightest possible punishments in child pornography cases, the Weekes case throws into question her treatment of rapists, as well.
“This case is yet another example of information coming to light after the nomination hearing concluded because of the Democrats’ rushed vetting process,” a Republican Judiciary Committee aide told The Post Saturday.
‘A life of dishonesty’
In 2010, Weekes was convicted in DC Superior Court of raping his 13-year-old niece four years earlier. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail and four years of supervised probation and was required to register as a sex offender for the next decade, according to records obtained by The Post.
But instead, Weekes failed to register — lying about his whereabouts by claiming he lived in DC in February 2013 when prosecutors said he was really living with his wife in Temple Hills, Maryland since 2012.
He was hauled before Jackson, then a federal judge in DC, on Feb. 19, 2014 for sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to register.
Prosecutors asked that Weekes receive a two-year sentence — the low end of the federal guidelines, which ranged up to 30 months — with another five years of supervised release. Weekes’ attorney asked for a maximum sentence of 10 months, plus three years of supervised release.
Prosecutor Ari Redbord told Jackson that Weekes had lived “an adult life of dishonesty, of fraud, of failing to obey court orders, and that is exactly what he did here,” according to a transcript of the hearing.
Redbord then underscored the seriousness of the rape case, for which Weekes was convicted of simple assault and three misdemeanor counts.
“This is not a butt grab, a misdemeanor kind of case … this is not consensual sex between a 20-year-old and a 16-year-old,” the prosecutor told Jackson. “This is an individual who, at trial, was convicted of essentially violently raping a 13-year-old child.”
Jackson, however, appeared unmoved, saying there was “no evidence” Weekes had been intentionally ducking probation officers, though she conceded he had “gotten a number of breaks, perhaps undeservedly so” in the earlier assault case.
“I do believe that criminal history is having a disproportionate impact on the sentence that the guidelines prescribe in this particular case in light of what you actually did here,” said Jackson before sentencing Weekes to 12 months, with credit for time served, according to the transcript.
He was released five months later, the court documents show.
Another arrest for alleged assault
Weekes landed on law enforcement’s radar again in June 2015 — when he would have been in prison had prosecutors gotten their way.
According to a DC police report cited by federal prosecutors, Weekes allegedly plied his sister-in-law with liquor while she was babysitting for his wife. He then allegedly started touching her, trying three separate times to pull her leggings down, the report says.
On the third occasion, the report alleges, Weekes “was able to digitally penetrate her vagina with his fingers and then tried to perform oral sex on her.” In response, the sister-in-law punched Weekes in the head, stopping the alleged attack.
“She noticed that the defendant had his penis exposed and was trying to insert it,” the report continues, “but was unable to get close.”
Weekes was initially arrested and charged with first-degree sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances. However, that charge was dropped after his sister-in-law opted not to cooperate with police or testify before a grand jury.
“I no longer want to pursue this matter,” the victim wrote in a letter lodged in court filings. “I want to be left alone. I don’t remember any thing [sic].”
Prosecutors said Weekes had paid her $2,500 to make the matter go away.
He pleaded guilty in DC Superior Court in March 2016 to obstruction of justice and failing to register as a sex offender and was hit with concurrent sentences of five years and six months, respectively.
In February 2017, he appeared before Jackson again for sentencing on multiple probation violations.
Redbord, the prosecutor, couldn’t resist reminding Jackson of her earlier sentence.
“The Court imposed a 12-month sentence, I think really giving the defendant every benefit of the doubt and every opportunity to complete a period of treatment, supervision, and really kind of have an opportunity to turn his life around,” he said, according to a transcript. ” … And he failed at every turn to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Earlier in the hearing, Redbord referred to Weekes as “the worst defendant that I have ever seen on supervision” and asked for two years to be tacked on to the end of his DC sentence.
Even then, Jackson did not agree, imposing her 24-month sentence to partially overlap with his punishment in connection with the assault on his sister-in-law.
Questions loom about Jackson’s judgement
During Jackson’s confirmation hearing, the Biden administration gave the Judiciary Committee information on seven cases in which she had sentenced defendants to terms below what prosecutors and probation officers had requested.
The Weekes case — which was revealed just days before the Senate is expected to confirm Jackson to the highest court in the land — was not among them.
“At [Jackson’s confirmation] hearing, senators rightly raised concerns about the consequences of light sentences for sex offenders,” the Republican Judiciary Committee aide said. “As this case sadly illustrates, those concerns aren’t theoretical.
“Had the judge imposed the sentence recommended by the government, this child rapist would have been behind bars when he sexually assaulted another family member. Judge Jackson’s personal policy preferences steered her judgement.”
“Judge Jackson is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, over 60 sheriffs and police chiefs leading many of the largest and busiest departments in our nation, and 83 former state attorneys general from both parties – as well as a coalition of anti-sexual violence advocates and survivors,” a White House official told The Post Sunday evening. “She has answered the most questions for the record of any Supreme Court nominee in history and has provided thousands of pages of documents to the Committee, including about her decisions – all of which are public record.”
Defenders of Jackson have argued her sentencing record is irrelevant, since criminal cases rarely come before the Supreme Court. Republicans and conservatives have countered by noting that such cases make up the bulk of Jackson’s record, since she has served just 10 months on the DC appeals court.
During her confirmation hearing, Jackson responded to criticism of her sentencing record by insisting that federal guidelines needed to be reformed by Congress, which did not sit well with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“It was not reassuring to hear Judge Jackson say that if senators want her to be tough on crime, we need to change the law, take away her discretion and force her to do it,” he said March 24 in announcing his opposition to her nomination.
“That response seems to confirm deeply held personal policy views seep into her jurisprudence, and that is exactly what the record suggests.”
SOURCE: NY Post