The People’s Task Force to Free The Wrongfully Convicted
Detroit, Michigan 48235
February 20, 2013
Mr. Brian Williams
Anchor and Managing Editor
Rock Center with Brian Williams
The GE Building at Rockefeller Center
30 Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10112
Re: Your February 15, 2013 Coverage Devoted to Wayne County Prosecutor
Dear Mr. Williams:
I watched with disbelief your February 15, 2012 documentary regarding our local prosecutor, Kym Worthy, about what a great job she has done in bringing justice to countless victims involving uncatalogued and untested rape kits once stored by the Detroit Police Department. Although I realize your February 15 documentary dealt solely with the issue of the untested rape kits, I found it quite interesting that Rock Center was not a bit interested in doing balanced reporting about our local prosecutor and the many scandals that rocked her office over the years. If you had, you would have learned of worse forms of denials of justice committed by the very prosecutor who NBC offered such a huge sound bite at self-glorification. Thus, I cannot resist the urge to tell you about the dark side of Ms. Worthy.
As an initial matter, your coverage was lopsided and filled with quite a bit of inaccuracies. First, contrary to Kate Snow’s assertion that Ms. Worthy never received funding from the City of Detroit due to budgets being “decimated,” Ms. Worthy did receive $3 million of city taxpayers’ money to fund her self-regulated investigations into the former Detroit Crime Lab, ostensibly for purpose of reviewing adjudicated cases involving the ballistics division. She received that money from a cash-strapped city, despite its fiscal woes. She also received that money in violation of state law that forbids a county prosecutor from receiving funding from local municipalities. Not surprisingly, Ms. Worthy did not admit to receiving that money in your February 15 documentary. Of course not, considering she took that money and ran off with it without confessing error or awarding new trials in any case involving ballistics evidence. No prosecutor would ever confess error in a case they mishandled or otherwise worked to deny justice.
As for the rape kit investigations, Ms. Worthy did in fact receive $600,000 after U.S. Representative John Conyers advocated for her to receive that funding when the scandals involving those kits first became public. Has she accounted for that money?
On the subject of lack of funding, Mr. Worthy very well knows that state law forbids a local prosecutor from receiving “additional” funding for additional duties. Thus, she went into these two major investigations involving the rape kits and the ballistics division, despite her knowledge that state law forbid her from receiving additional funding for those additional duties. She cannot now cry foul for tasks she took on her own and for which she should not be controlling due to conflicts of interest.
While Ms. Worthy deserves praise for her efforts in advocating for the victims involving years’ worth of untested rape kits, her office is just as guilty in denying justice to many innocent defendants who she knows were wrongfully convicted of crimes but yet refuses to confess error, such as, for instance, a recent case in which one of her prosecutors was found guilty of suborning perjury that sent an innocent man to prison. That case involved an assistant prosecuting attorney named Karen Plants, who, despite all the evidence of her guilt in suborning two local police officers and a drug informant to lie on the witness stand, Ms. Worthy refused to reprimand. Even after Ms. Plants was duly convicted, Ms. Worthy refused to so much as even issue a public reprimand against one of her own who violated the public’s trust and confidence in the justice system.
Then there is the ongoing legal battle involving 14 year old Davontae Sanford, who was wrongfully convicted of four murders he did not commit and was induced to plead guilty to those crimes on the basis of fraudulent evidence that both – Ms. Worthy’s office and Detroit Police – introduced in court against him, including a confession that bore all the hallmarks of police misconduct.
Less than a year after Ms. Worthy’s office induced Davontae to plead guilty to those crimes, the actual killer – a professional hitman for Detroit Police – came forward and confessed with precise details to killing the four victims Mr. Sanford was alleged to have murdered. It is strange that in your February 15 documentary, Ms. Worthy was busy pointing fingers at Detroit Police for mishandling thousands of rape kit evidence, yet her office worked in tandem with the very same police force that wrongfully convicted Mr. Sanford on the basis of fraudulent physical evidence and a confession obtained through illegal means. To this day, Ms. Worthy refuses to acknowledge the injustice in that case and confess error and set Davontae free. Why? Because it is the politically correct thing to do, even at the expense of justice. Go back, if you care, and ask Ms. Worthy to confess her wrongs in the Davontae Sanford case. Ask her about the denial of justice in that case! A wealth of information about his case is found on the internet and in the courts here in Michigan. See for yourself and when you do, you will realize Ms. Worthy is no guardian of justice when she is content with knowing she sent a kid to prison for crimes she knows another man committed. For more information on the case, feel free to click on http://vimeo.com/56841160.
Oh, Ms. Worthy is treacherous. She cares nothing about justice and that is my reason for correcting your lopsided, unbalanced story on NBC last week. If Rock Center truly cares about justice for Davontae as it does for the women of unsolved rape cases in Detroit, it would go back and ask the prosecutor why she continues to allow that kid to rot in prison for crimes she knows he did not commit. I can tell you why. To confess error is to confess liability in a civil suit that would bring serious consequences on both her and the Detroit Police Department. Ms. Worthy has the blood of innocence in her mouth. Shame on her. And shame on Rock Center for not doing balanced news reporting.
One major point about the rape kits is worth noting. In your February 15 documentary, Ms. Worthy mentioned that of the 600 rape kits tested so far, 21 showed crimes that were committed by serial rapists. She further indicated she expects to uncover more serial-type rape crimes. I wonder, however, what has the remaining 579 kits uncovered? How many innocent defendants are likely sitting in prison today for which those test results show their innocence but Ms. Worthy refuses to confess error and set them free? Just as she has done to Davontae Sanford. Perhaps Kate Snow can go back and ask her – that is, if NBC is truly interested in doing balanced reporting. Ask her, if you will, would she set the innocent man free as a result of any testing for which the results might exonerate him – in a case of the fox watching the henhouse.
In closing, I want to say that if NBC truly believes in justice, if you truly understand the fundamental rights to due process and a fair trial – something Davontae never received – you would balance your February 15 documentary by telling the world about his case and bring Ms. Worthy to answer for her crimes.
Roberto GuzmanSenior Legal Assistant