Detroit Prosecutor Denies Blame For Crime Rise

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Kym Worthy, the chief prosecutor in Detroit (Wayne County, Mi.), has been criticized for plea bargaining with gun-toting criminals and generally being soft on crime. “I've done nothing wrong,” Worthy, 47, the county's first black female prosecutor, told the Detroit News. “I have nothing to apologize for. As a matter of fact, I'll be so bold as to say I've done everything right.” Her predecessor, Detroit Medical Center chairman Michael Duggan, and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick have questioned her approach to prosecuting dangerous criminals. The News asks how much a new prosecutor's policies can affect crime? “I don't know when it became the prosecutor's job to bring down the crime rate, but I'm more than willing,” said Worthy, who is unopposed for re-election in November.

Predecessor Duggan put assistants in police precincts, refused to plea-bargain some gun cases, and held office during a two-year historic drop in crime. Worthy, with more budgetary constraints, has reined in some of Duggan's programs, favors diversion and alternative sentences for some offenders, and gives assistants discretion on whether to plea-bargain in gun cases. Gunplay has soared, and the city is on edge. Non-fatal shootings rose to 808 in Detroit for the first half of the year, up from 463 during the same period last year. “You can't say that because Kym Worthy has been prosecutor since January, we've had a bad year for crime in the city of Detroit,” said James Howarth, a Detroit defense attorney. “If crime had gone down 80 percent, she couldn't take credit. It's too early. Her policies are going to take a good year or two to bear fruit.”

Link: http://www.detnews.com/2004/specialreport/0408/16/c01-243185.htm

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