LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s been a few months since former Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was charged with engaging in services of prostitution along with charges of willful neglect of duty and pandering.
The Ingham county prosecutor’s office has recused themselves from a total of four cases where defendants are appealing their rulings, turning them over to Attorney General Bill Schutte’s office. One convicted felon is appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Jonathan Purnell is serving at least five and a half years after he plead guilty to two counts of transporting a female for prostitution.
He’s now appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court, claiming he was overcharged because former prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was being “overzealous” toward him because of “thoughts regarding girls.”
“I don’t think he can make that showing in this case, but that’s his right to do,” retired Cooley Law School Professor Ron Bretz said. “He doesn’t have to show why. He simply has to show that he was over-charged.”
Former public defender and retired professor at Cooley Law School Ron Bretz says no criminal conviction will be reversed or vacated because of Stuart Dunnings unless “we’ve got that very specific case where they prosecuted somebody because, only because of Dunning’s involvement in prostitution, and it effected that case,” Bretz said.
Purnell accuses Dunnings of being a biased prosecutor and being involved with the same activities he was convicted of.
Whether or not that’s true, new Ingham County Prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer wants to make sure that there is impartiality and independence for those appealing their cases.
“We thought the most prudent thing to do was to ensure that we asked for a recusal so that an independent look could be made and determine whether or not that is the case,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer says even though her office has recused themselves of a number of cases, “simply making an allegation does not eliminate someone from having to do their time,” Whitmer said.