Frank Porter Graham Award for Lifetime Achievement in Civil Liberties
As an attorney, judge, and advocate, Gregory A. Weeks has dedicated his life to the pursuit of justice and liberty in North Carolina.
He served as a North Carolina judge for 24 years and presided over many important cases, including the first and only challenges brought under North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act, which allowed people on death row to appeal their sentences and receive life in prison without parole if they could show evidence that racial bias was a factor in their sentence. Weeks issued historic rulings that found “a wealth of evidence showing the persistent, pervasive, and distorting role of race in jury selection throughout North Carolina” and called for reform in capital jury selection.
After retiring from the bench, Weeks became an outspoken voice on many civil liberties issues, including criminal justice reform and voting rights. He has served as chair of the North Carolina Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (NC-CRED), which works to identify and recommend collaborative solutions for racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. He also serves on the boards of the Sentencing Project and the North Carolina Justice Center.
Weeks worked several years in private practice and was an assistant Cumberland County public defender for 10 years. He received his law degree from the UNC School of Law.
Learn more about this year's Liberty Awards Dinner on October 6, 2018, in Chapel Hill and purchase tickets here.