Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announces increased pay for new prosecutors to tackle case backlog

Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-25 18:30:23-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — It was five months ago that 7 Investigator Ross Jones revealed how the backlog of sexual assault warrants in Wayne County had reached alarming levels.

Well today, Prosecutor Kym Worthy delivered a one-two punch. First, news that will surely cut the backlog in cases in her office, and second a program meant to keep non-violent offenders out of jail.

Phillip Sample lives on the east side in the most dangerous zip code in Detroit. The same area where a crime as a young gangbanger landed him in jail at age 17.

“I was 18 years of age, a shootout in between my group and a rival group, and um, I had to go away for a while,” said Phillip Sample, reflecting on his past.

Now this 47-year-old husband and father of two is thankful that programs under Prosecutor Kym Worthy's watch kept him out of prison this morning after he was caught with a concealed weapon.

“To be able to not compromise self, but have the opportunity to continue to work my penance out, is a blessing on top of a blessing,” said Sample.

Darryl Woods, Founder of Fighting the Good Fight works with Prosecutor Worthy helping offenders get a second chance.

“Today the Prosecutor came up with a phenomenal deal to give him an opportunity to be able to show his redemption,” said Darryl Woods, Fighting the Good Fight.

For nearly 7 years Prosecutor Worthy has been dealing with a backlog of cases but during a press conference today she announced prosecutors in her office will now be the highest paid in the state of Michigan with a 15% bump up to $75,000.

WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford asked via Zoom, “Will this help with the backlog of cases?”

“It will because if you have more people obviously, we can redistribute the caseload,” said Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor.

In addition to better pay, they will have reduced health care payments, retention bonuses, and free parking.

On May 7 Investigator Ross Jones reported on the backlog of sexual assault cases .. that takes experienced prosecutors.

“The problem we’re still going to continue to have, and the problem we’re working on is we have generally newer prosecutors coming in, and most of our office have been here less than five years, so we still have the heavy-duty cases like the Criminal Sexual Conduct I, carjackings, armed robberies, murders but this should help that as well,” said Worthy.

Prosecutor Worthy also touted a program to help non-violent offenders get their cases dismissed after undergoing a one-year jobs training program. So far seven companies, non-profits, and unions, including Stellantis, Focus Hope, and the Carpenters and Millwrights are on board.

This is a $2.3 million program thanks to the Michigan legislature and the governor has 200 slots and only 20 are filled.

For someone like Sample who has a wife and kids to fight for today, he has written a book and gives back to the community. He believes programs like these will help keep young people from making the same mistakes he did so many years ago.

Worthy is hoping by getting the word out about these programs other businesses will join in to help and defense attorneys will consider recommending their clients so they too can turn their lives around.