Kym Worthy

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Kym L. Worthy
Wayne County Prosecutor
In office
6 January 2004 – Incumbent
Preceded by Mike Duggan
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Michigan
Notre Dame Law School

Kym L. Worthy (1957) is the current prosecutor of Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit. She is the second African-American to serve as a county prosecutor in Michigan, the first one being Stuart Dunnings III in Ingham County, Michigan which includes Lansing. She has received a large amount of notice since filing charges against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the beginning of March, 2008, however this is only one of many cases her office has been involved in.

Worthy received her bachelors degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame. She attended high school in Alexandria, Virginia and is a 1974 graduate of T.C. Williams High School.

Worthy started as an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County in 1984. She served in this position for ten years, trying over 800 cases. The most notable was the trial of Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers in the beating death of Malice Green. Among the cases Worthy had go to trial her conviction rate was over 90%.[1] From 1994- January 2004 Worthy was a judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court.

Worthy was appointed Wayne County Prosecutor to replace Michael Duggan who resigned to become the head of the Detroit Medical Center.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is by far the busiest in Michigan. There are 83 counties in Michigan yet Worthy's office handles 52% of all felony cases in Michigan and 64% of all serious felony cases that go to jury trial.[2]

Early in her time as county prosecutor Worthy was criticized for giving too many plea deals to people involved in gun crimes.[3]

Worthy has also at times had her prosecutions hampered by the ineptitude of the Detroit Police Crime Lab.[4]

In 2010 she appealed the decision of providing Jean Paul Orlewicz a new trial. Orlewicz, 18 was convicted of first degree murder, after the Wayne county prosecutor had previously established an agreement with murderer, Alex Letkemann, in order to have a stronger case against Orlewicz.

Presently, Worthy is working on resolving a massive backlog of unprocessed rape test kits in Detroit. In 2009, one of her assistants discovered a massive number of kits sitting in a warehouse that the Detroit Police Department had used as an overflow storage facility for evidence. Eventually, over 11,000 rape test kits--some of which had been sitting unprocessed for a decade or more--were discovered in the warehouse. In one case, a 2002 rape was linked to a man who was incarcerated for three murders he committed in the seven years after the rape. Worthy took the discovery very personally, in part because she was sexually assaulted herself while at Notre Dame (though it was unreported).[5]

In 2013 Worthy sued Wayne County alleging that they had provided her with an insufficient budget to fulfill her duties as outlined in the Michigan State Constitution.[6] In June 2014 Worthy backed Warren Evans in his race to oust current Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano in the Democrat Primary.

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