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Prosecutor's Office Hit With Major Layoffs

DETROIT (WWJ) - The Wayne County Prosecutor's office has been hit with across the board layoffs and top prosecutor Kym Worthy says public safety will be harmed by the cuts.

The prosecutor's office is losing 22 attorneys, 3 investigators and a weekend staff. Worthy says because of the layoffs citizens can expect no coverage in the domestic violence or traffic court dockets.

"My prosecutors ... are overworked, underpaid, have too much to do, volunteer on their own time because we were all concerned about this issue," said Worthy told WWJ Newsradio 950's Stephanie Davis.

And she says with half the warrant staff now laid off, there will be delays in charging serious felonies.

Even staff handling the prosecution of the public corruption cases has been reduced. Worthy goes on to say that the cuts happened even though her budget has been balanced for the last 3 years.

Recently Worthy appeared on NBC's Rock Center to talk about her already short staff in processing the thousands of rape kits recovered from Detroit police.

A release by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office stated that beginning March 18th the following areas would be affected:

Courtrooms in 36th District Court will not be fully covered.
There will be no coverage for the Domestic Violence Docket.

There will be only one of two Pre-Examination courtrooms.

With half of the warrant staff laid off, there will be significant delays in charging serious felonies; cases involving non-fatal shootings will take significantly longer to process. This will cause the jail population to increase.

Lower level felonies will face even more significant delays. Theft and drug offenses will take weeks, or even months to complete.

Because of delays in the charging process, large numbers of suspects will be released pending investigation. This will pose a significant threat to the safety of Wayne County residents.

Three major investigations will be stalled because three investigators have been laid-off. All of these involve major financial crimes that have had a significant momentary impact on a number of victims.

Crucial clerical staff will not be available for processing criminal warrants on the weekend.

Prosecutors handling public corruption, police shootings and police misconduct have been reduced by the layoffs; without this oversight Wayne County residents will have significantly less confidence in their public institutions.

A significant backlog already exists for crimes where the defendant is not in custody' this will certainly be exacerbated. For example:

Homicide Unit - Warrant Backlog
Homicide Warrants 58
Special Victims Unit - Warrant Backlog
Sexual Assault: 62
Investigations pending into 29 serial rapists
Investigations pending into 106 CODIS hits
Child Physical and Sexual Abuse: 108
Community Prosecutions - Warrant Backlog
Non-Fatal Shooting Cases: 22 Pending
Public Integrity Unit - Pending Warrants
Public Integrity: 24
Police Involved Shooting Warrants: 6
The statement puts the onus squarely on the shoulders of Robert Ficano "(who) has taken the irresponsible action of laying off people who work hard to prosecute criminals in my jurisdiction."

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