Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Defends Tenure In Run For Fifth Term

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

To date we have directed over 18,000 youths and adults from the criminal justice system,” says Worthy on her role as Wayne County prosecutor.

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The national reckoning on police brutality and criminal justice reform has brought the role of law enforcement into sharper focus and has provided a compelling backdrop for the Wayne County prosecutor primary race. Kym Worthy has held the position of Wayne County prosecutor for 16 years and is now running for a fifth term against criminal defense attorney Victoria Burton Harris. 

Interview: Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy

Worthy is being challenged by Victoria Burton-Harris, who joined Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson earlier this month.

I am the most progressive prosecutor in the state.” — Kim Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor

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Candidate Brief

Key Experience: Kym Worthy has served as Wayne Country prosecutor for four terms, amounting to 16 years in office. 

Major endorsements: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence 

Issues:

  • Backlogged Rape Kits: Worthy says her office’s work on addressing the mountain of backlogged rape kits has been an 11-year journey. She says by working with the state there is now a statewide web-based system to track kits, creating a victim portal. “The work we did in Detroit is now a national model,” says Worthy. 
  • Criminal justice reform: In response to her opponent’s charge that the prosecutor’s office is jailing too many people, Worthy says that while many times these cases fall outside her jurisdiction, there does need to be a more critical eye about who is in jail. She says sometimes there are people in jail that shouldn’t be, especially low-level offenders. “I welcome any report that is done on criminal justice reform and jail reform, because there are some good ideas there. There are also some bad ideas,” says Worthy. 
  • Wrongful Convictions: Worthy says contrary to her critics’ assertions, there are not thousands of wrongful convictions in Wayne County. On Victoria Burton Harris’ claim that there is only one full-time lawyer in Wayne County’s Conviction Integrity Unit, Worthy says emphatically there are four full-time attorneys in the unit. As for juvenile lifer cases, Worthy says her office has changed on several cases and are doing hearings as quickly as possible. “We can only go as fast as the court gives us a date. We’re ready to go on these cases. We can only go as fast as the defense,” says Worthy. 

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