LANSING, MI (WLNS) – For nearly two decades, former Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was perceived as being visibly involved in criminal cases and prosecutions within the county, but after conducting more than 100 meetings and interviews with his staffers, law enforcement, defense attorneys and judges, his predecessor, Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer found, the same couldn’t be said about the reality of his involvement in the prosecutor’s office.
An assistant prosecutor referred to him as an “absentee landlord,” one of his longest serving employees said she would go “weeks without laying eyes on him,” and it was universally suspected he wouldn’t use secure parking to avoid knowledge of his comings and goings.
Because of a gag-order, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office was unable to share specifics regarding Mr. Dunnings’ alleged crimes, but Whitmer said it became “immediately apparent that assistant prosecutors were never asked to compromise a case or look the other way.”
“This is an enormous prosecutor’s office, a lot of sophisticated attorney’s doing work and support staff that perform an invaluable function in this community,” Whitmer said. “I do not believe that any of them had knowledge of Mr. Dunnings’ alleged conduct of which he’s been accused, nor do I believe that, that conduct infiltrated this office and compromised the execution of our duties.”
And after reviewing cases, local law enforcement agencies didn’t find any concerns with how things were done, either.
“This is a critical part of law enforcement to ensure our communities are safe and we need to have confidence that they are doing the work that they need to do and I feel comfortable that, that’s what we have here in Ingham County, we’re lucky,” Whitmer said.
The prosecutor’s office has recused itself from criminal cases because of the possibly Dunnings could be connected to them. Whitmer said the office will make use of the recusal process if there are future questions of conflict.
As part of her efforts to restore the integrity of the office, Whitmer has established a dedicated domestic Violence unit in Lansing and plans to expand the Diversion Program for first time offenders.