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Wayne County Prosecutor

Choose one candidate to serve a four-year term as Wayne County Prosecutor at an annual salary of $139,000.

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  • Candidate picture

    David Afton
    (L)

  • Kym L. Worthy
    (Dem)

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Biographical Information

What professional experiences/accomplishments have most prepared you to assume the responsibilities of the prosecutors’ office?

What are the most significant challenges the prosecutors faces in working with police agencies in your jurisdiction? How do you plan to address them?

With what sort of offenders is the criminal justice system least effective? How have/would you improve its effectiveness?

Which victims of crime does the criminal justice system serve least effectively? How have/would you improve its effectiveness?

If the county added five full-time prosecutors to your payroll, how would you deploy them?

If the county reduced your payroll by five full-time prosecutors, how would you absorb the reduction?

Michigan has experimented with specialty courts for drug offenders, veterans and offenders with mental health issues. Which of these specialty courts, if any, should be expanded in your county?

In what circumstances should the prosecutor offer to reduce charges or recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea?

Can the prosecutor’s office play a role in reducing the number of offenders in Michigan’s prisons and jails? How?

Can the prosecutor’s office play a role in reducing recidivism? How?

The U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that juvenile lifers should be permitted to petition for reduced sentences. Do you believe that some of the juvenile lifers convicted in your jurisdiction qualify for such a reduction?

Should offenders who meet the criteria for reduced sentences be released even if their victims or their victims’ survivors object?

What steps should be taken to attract and retain highly qualified assistant prosecutors?

If you could enact or amend one statute to make your office more effective, what would you do?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

City of residence Dearborn
Age 52
Family Married to Elaine Afton. We have 3 children: Eric (12 yrs old); Virginia (12 yrs old); Daniel (11 yrs old).
Education B.A. in Political Philosophy/Constitutional Democracy - Michigan State University 1987; Juris Doctor in Law (Lawyer) - Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 2000
Vehicles owned 2016 Ford Flex 2016 Ford Fusion.
Professional Experience Earned my J.D. in September 2000; Passed the Michigan State Bar in May 2001. Worked as an associate attorney, and then in my solo-practice, from June 2001 until May 2008. Worked as a claims attorney in Southfield, MI from May 2008 until present.
Political Experience Ran for Wayne County Prosecutor, as a Libertarian, in 2012...garnered 10.5% of the vote (about 76,000 votes). Came in second to Kim Worthy.
Race/ethnicity Polish/German/French/English.
I worked at the Wayne County Prosecutor office in the Civil Forfeiture Unit, and saw first-hand the unjust government practices of extorting money from citizens in exchange for the return of stolen property. I also worked as a criminal defense attorney, and understand the problems associated with charging people with victimless crimes, and with judges and prosecutors conspiring to prevent juries from being informed of their right to engage in Jury Nullification (i.e. jurors voting to acquit defendants in accordance with their conscience and contrary to unjust laws).
The “Thin Blue Line” is a problem, i.e. the police conspiracy to protect their own and otherwise obstruct justice when “one of their own” is involved in a crime. As government actors, the police are agents of the People, and as such should be treated as fiduciaries and held to a higher standard for misconduct; Police misconduct should be investigated swiftly and aggressively, and police witnesses encouraged to be forthright and honest in speaking-out and testifying against all defendants, including fellow officers.
Least effective with the Civil Forfeiture prosecutions, as this is naked theft of property of citizens who have not been charged with a crime, for the purpose of extorting revenue. Also ineffective are “victimless crimes” that involve mere vices, and do not involve true victims (e.g. gambling, prostitution, recreational drug use, etc); This is because vices are best addressed through traditional social stigmas and pressures, rather than expedient criminalization of otherwise peaceful acts. I would divert prosecutorial resources to traditional common-law crimes that involve victims (e.g. rape, murder, theft, etc).
Rape victims (and other victims of real crime) get short-shrift, when our police, prosecutors and forensics resources are directed towards drug prohibition and other “victimless crimes” involving mere vice, instead of “real crimes” involving victims; Thousands of rape kits go untested, while “drug crime warriors” waste resources on drug prohibition, trying to protect people from their own irresponsibility. Again, I would divert prosecutorial resources to traditional common-law crimes that involve victims.
We need more resources (including prosecutors) directed toward “real” crimes that involve actual victims (rape, murder, assault, burglary, robbery, fraud, government corruption, etc), instead of wasting time, money and resources on “victimless crimes” and mere vices, where no one was actually victimized or harmed.
I would make-up the loss by eliminating or reducing the case-loads of prosecutors working in the Civil Forfeiture unit, as well as the “vice crimes” units (e.g. recreational drug use, prostitution, gambling, etc). I will do this regardless. Prosecutors should also stop over-charging defendants in a gambit to obtain plea-bargains later (and which plea deals end up being for what the defendant probably should’ve been charged with at the outset): Charge defendants fairly and accurately at the outset, but accept in far fewer plea-deals later on.
I am in favor with expanding Specialty Courts, inasmuch as they appear to treat people who have not harmed anyone (“victimless crimes” mentioned above) more leniently and humanely than the “one size fits all” traditional court system.
1. In cases where a defendant was “over-charged” to begin with (which is a common practice---i.e. the practice of “throw everything at the wall and let’s see what sticks”). 2. Cases involving “victimless crimes” (discussed above), where there is no actual victim of violence, theft or fraud.
Yes. Redirect resources and prosecutorial efforts away from “victimless crimes” and toward more traditional “real” crimes that involve victims of violence, force, fraud, theft, corruption, etc. This is especially true with drug prohibition, where zealous prosecution of recreational drug use---which harms no one other than the irresponsible user---taxes our judicial and prison systems. Also, facilitating juries in exercising their right of Jury Nullification---i.e. voting their conscience and acquitting defendants regardless of the law---will keep defendants out of jail who don’t deserve it (in the opinion of the jury).
For “real crimes” involving victims (e.g. rape, theft, murder, assault, fraud, etc), sentences should be progressively more harsh and punitive, and defendants should be charged to the fullest and fairest extent under the law. For “victimless crimes,” either do not pursue prosecution, or engage in plea deals when possible, and/or offer treatment or non-punitive sentencing when possible. But I would take a libertarian “live and let live” approach with victimless crimes, and let people take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions; Vices are best addressed by way of social pressures, stigmas, and more traditional methods of therapy and treatment that do not involve coercion.
Yes, certainly. The greater justice is found in avoiding injustice---and no doubt some juveniles are unjustly imprisoned for life. It bears repeating, that children and non-adults are NOT adults!...and as such lack the same awareness, comprehension, and mens rea (“guilty mind”) as an adult, and as such should be held to a different standard of accountability; The distinction between “juvenile offender” and “adult offender” is rendered meaningless if we are, in the end, treating them the same, especially with regard to sentencing.
Yes. While I have great sympathy for the feelings of crime victims, I believe that if there is a problem with the criteria for reduced sentences, then the means of addressing that is through the legislature, and the means of pressuring the legislature is through the process of voting.
Divert resources away from “victimless crimes” and Civil Forfeiture, and use the money saved toward generously compensating qualified prosecutors who display a fidelity to strict-construction of our laws and of the Constitution, who zealously yet ethically prosecute crimes involving violence and fraud, and who are dedicated to seeking justice and avoiding injustice. Rather than blindly rewarding prosecutors for their “body counts” and “head-hunting”---i.e. raw numbers of plea deals and prosecutions---we should celebrate, commend and reward prosecutors who promote justice, even if it involves the more courageous act of avoiding injustice by declining to prosecute or to over-charge.
Repeal drug prohibition at all gvmnt levels: It is a shameful, money-making racket and jobs program with the aim of generating “revenue” for the gvmnt and keeping cops, judges and prosecutors employed; It undermines fighting real crimes such as rape, murder, theft, fraud, corruption, assault, etc. Also, repeal immunity and legal protections from prosecution and civil lawsuits, currently enjoyed by police and prosecutors: Allowing prosecutors and police to evade personal responsibility for negligence and criminal acts is a moral hazard which only encourages more irresponsible or criminal behavior; The Rule of Law demands that government people get no favorable treatment under the law.
Probably, time permitting.
No felonies. A couple non-violent misdemeanors over 30 years ago while in college, and which have no bearing upon my fitness or ability to hold this office for which I am running.
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