Wayne County prosecutor: 'We're treated like crap'

Kym Worthy says depleting budget is affecting her public safety duty

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - "We're treated like crap."

Those are the words spoken by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on the environment in her office.

Worthy says her office's depleted budget is causing serious problems for all Wayne County residents and she's desperate to get more money to stem the tide.

"We are a laughingstock. In fact, they use us an example of how not to fund the office," she said.

Worthy spoke the words at a recent meeting with other big city prosecutors.

She gave numbers to back up her case.

She budgets for 180 staffers, mostly lawyers, because lawyers and investigators keep leaving the office, over low pay. She has 73 job openings, most of those attorneys – with no money to backfill the open desks.

In terms of the impact on crime, Worthy said she has a backlog of 180 child abuse arrest warrants, 75 child sex abuse warrants and 40 homicide warrants.

Worthy said crime conviction rates are down 20 percent from two years ago because of overworked and under-prepared lawyers.

Worthy said witnesses and police are not being talked to and files are being handed over to prosecutors who haven't even read the case before trying it in court.  

"If that's acceptable behavior to our victims of crime in this county, then I guess we're doing OK," Worthy said.

Of the infamous Detroit crime lab rape kit testing, Worthy said of the 11,000 found kits, 1,600 had been tested - about a third had testable DNA. Out of that group, Worthy said, nearly 60 percent have hits and the system had identified 59 serial rapists.

Read: Prosecutors work to test 11,000 rape kits

Read: Gov. Snyder OKs $4 million to test Detroit rape kits

"These are all rapists who have been on the streets for the last 25 years," Worthy said.

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