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Judge Thomas H. Estes

Judge Thomas H. Estes

Thomas H. Estes is an associate justice for Northampton District Court in Hampshire County, Massachusetts.

David Becker Sexual Assault Sentencing Controversy

Judge Thomas Estes sentenced David Becker who was charged with sexually assaulting two women to two years of probation and zero jail time. David Becker will also not have to register as a sex offender. The sentence has been criticized by many as extremely lenient for a violent sex crime.

The Attorney defending David Becker, Thomas Rooke said:

"We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn't be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender," and "Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid's life."

"He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender," and "The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience."

Since Judge Thomas had ordered the case continued without finding, David Becker will not have any conviction on his record as long as he meets the conditions of his probation. The conditions are to not contact the victims, and to not use alcohol or drugs.

David Becker had been charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault stemming from an April 2, 2016 house party at which he allegedly penetrating the two victims with his finger while they were unconscious, according to court documents. David Becker was a 18 year old three-sport athlete at East Longmeadow High School.

One of the victims said she had heard that David Becker had similarly assaulted other girls in the past, and that friends sometimes refer to him as "David the Rapist".

Prosecutors in the case had recommended two years of jail time for David Becker considering the severity of the charges.

Many are calling the sentence extremely lenient and unjust, calling for Judge Thomas Estes to be removed from the bench as a judge.

A petition on Care2 called "Remove Judge Thomas Estes from the bench for letting "David the Rapist" walk free" has received 740 signatures with a goal of reaching 1000 signatures. [1]

Comparison to the Aaron Persky and Brock Turner

The case has been compared to the case against Stanford rapist Brock Turner. Judge Aaron Persky had sentenced Brock Turner a white privileged student athlete like David Becker to only a few months in jail after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. [1]

This case is more egregious since Judge Thomas sentenced David Becker to zero jail time and only two years of probation a much lighter sentence despite David Becker having raped two women. [1]

Career

Thomas H. Estes was nominated to be a judge at the court by Governor Deval Patrick on January 15, 2014 and was confirmed by the Executive Council on March 5, 2014.

Before becoming a judge, he worked as an Attorney-in-charge in the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services for the Northampton District Court

From 2002-2006 he was an Attorney, Committee for Public Counsel Services, in the Hampshire County district and superior court.

He started his career as a patent litigation lawyer before talking to his roommate who was a public defender.

The conversation made him feel “I needed a job where I felt I was making a difference."

He ended up becoming a public defender in 2002 for the state of Virginia.

Education

Thomas Estes earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1990. After graduation he spent several years teaching English in Taiwan. He was awarded a J.D.from the William & Mary Law School in 1996.

References

[1]
Citation Linkthepetitionsite.comCare2petition for Judge Thomas Estes to be removed from the bench after giving an extremely lenient sentence to David Beckera student athlete who raped two unconscious women.
Aug 23, 2016, 4:11 AM
[2]
Citation Linkyoutube.comWWLPNews video about Thomas H. Estes appointment as a judge
Aug 23, 2016, 4:23 AM
[3]
Citation Linkballotpedia.orgJudge Thomas H. Estes on Ballotpedia
Aug 23, 2016, 3:22 AM
[4]
Citation Linkmasslive.comArticle about Thomas H. Estes appointment as a judge
Aug 23, 2016, 3:30 AM
[5]
Citation Linkmasslive.comArticle about the lenient sentence Judge Thomas Estes gave with zero jail time to David Beckerwho sexually assaulted two women
Aug 23, 2016, 4:07 AM
[6]
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comPhoto of Judge Thomas Estes [3]
Aug 23, 2016, 4:37 AM
[7]
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comPhoto of Judge Thomas Estes
Aug 23, 2016, 4:38 AM
[8]
Citation Linkwww.youtube.comWWLP News video about Thomas H. Estes appointment as a judge
Aug 23, 2016, 4:23 AM