Best Lawyer - 2012
Gordon Weekes Jr.
Few attorneys would clamor for a government job representing juvenile delinquents. Broward Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes treats his clients as he would any other kids — with dignity, respect, and a fierce sense of protection. When a 14-year-old boy alleged he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a guard at the Thompson Academy detention center, Weekes got the teenager released from jail. He also defended Michael Bent, the 17-year-old accused of orchestrating an attack on 15-year-old Michael Brewer, which ended in Brewer's being lit on fire. In each case, Weekes stood up for kids others might shun. Weekes writes letters to Tallahassee complaining about maggots in his clients' food, abusive guards, and other problems at state-funded juvie lockups. He refuses to accept that dysfunctional government agencies such as the Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Children and Families will never change. He keeps shining a light on the dark places, insisting there is a better way to help troubled kids.