The Special Prosecutions Division was developed to handle specialized complex investigation and prosecutions as directed by Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney. This division includes: the Homicide Unit, the Major Drug Unit, the Prosecutor Auto Theft Unit, the Litigation Technology Unit, the Violent Crime Unit and the Juvenile Life Without Parole Unit.
The Homicide Unit evaluates all homicide warrant requests presented by the various police agencies that serve Wayne County. All homicide warrant requests are initially reviewed by one of the prosecutors in the Homicide Unit. Where appropriate, the request may then be forwarded to another unit, such as CFAB, for evaluation and decision. The cases handled in this unit range from vehicular homicides of all types (hit-and-run, alcohol related, road rage, etc.) through multi-victim, multi-defendant, gangland or drug-related executions. Prosecutors in the Homicide Unit are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist police with criminal investigations. They are regularly called upon through the workday, as well as after hours, to provide legal advice and direction, to review search warrants and other documents, and to conduct witness interviews, where necessary, to preserve critical testimony that might otherwise be lost. A significant number of homicide cases involve complex legal and evidentiary issues and require testimony from experts in many scientific fields.
Whenever possible, cases within this unit are prosecuted vertically, that is, the same prosecutor handles the case from the charging decision through preliminary examination, motions and trial. Since homicide is a violent crime and is generally regarded as the most serious crime in the law, these cases require more time, effort and expertise to investigate than many others. Vertical prosecutions of these cases produces better results than frequently reassigning the cases to different attorneys at different stages. The purpose of the Homicide Unit is to effectively prosecute these cases so as to deter further violent crime, and thereby increase public safety within Wayne County.
MAJOR DRUG UNIT
The Major Drug Unit (MDU) prosecutes cases involving large quantities of controlled substances (primarily cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and other dangerous drugs) and the organizations that control narcotics operations. The prosecutors work closely with federal, state and city law enforcement agencies investigating high-level narcotics traffickers.MDU assistant prosecutors oversee these cases from beginning to end.
These cases not only involve large quantities of narcotics, but also enormous amounts of cash and dangerous weaponry. The defendants in these cases are usually leaders or high-ranking members of these complex and organized criminal enterprises.
PROSECUTOR AUTO THEFT UNIT
PATU is the Prosecutor Auto Theft Unit for the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. This unit handles most crimes related to motor vehicles, including vehicle theft, chop shops, insurance fraud, identity theft and fleeing cases. PATU is partially funded by a grant from the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority. PATU works closely with auto insurance companies and police departments within Wayne County.
Once a warrant request is initiated by a police agency, a specialized PATU prosecutor oversees the case from beginning (investigation) to end (sentencing). Since the creation of PATU over 25 years ago, auto theft related crimes in Wayne County has decreased over 60%. PATU averages 1,900 new cases per year.
- H.E.A.T. (Help Eliminate Auto Theft)
- OTIS (Offender Tracking Information System)
- ATPA (Auto Theft Prevention Authority)
- MAVTI (Michigan Association of Vehicle Theft Investigators)
- NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau)
- IAATI (International Association of Auto Theft Investigators)
- NHTSA - Vehicle Theft Prevention Safercar.gov. www.safercar.gov
- NAEC (North American Export Committee)
- Federal Trade Commission's website on identity theft
- TransUnion Credit Agency
- Experian Credit Agency
- Equifax Credit Agency
LITIGATION TECHNOLOGY UNIT
The Litigation Technology Unit (LTU) is a support unit created to assist the WCPO attorney staff with the preparation and presentation of digital evidence in court. The use of digital evidence in the criminal justice system is growing every day. WCPO technology specialists assist lawyers with this voluminous evidence (e.g. body worn camera video/security video). This small unit is cutting edge and one of the firt of its kind in the country.
VIOLENT CRIME UNIT
The Violent Crime Unit (VCU) is a vertical prosecution unit that focuses on the prosecution of non-fatal shootings, homicides and gang-related violence in specific high-crime geographic locations in Wayne County. The police frequently face unique challenges while investigating these types of cases. The VCU specializes in assisting the police with these difficult cases.
JUVENILE LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE UNIT
The Juvenile Life Without Parole Unit (JLWOP) was acreated to re-sentence individuals convicted of First Degree Murder and sentenced to life without parole for homicides they committed when they were a juvenile. These re-sentencings are mandated by the United States Supreme Court decidions in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana. JLWOP attorneys are responsible for handloing all aspectes of the re-sentencing of these incarcerated juvenile lifers.