Dunnings charges will hurt Prosecutor's office

Posted at 8:31 AM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 08:32:23-04

Stuart Dunnings III is only charged with 15 counts related to prostitution, not convicted.

Former Criminal Defense Attorney and Cooley Law School Criminal Law Professor Ron Bretz says, regardless, the case will be hard on the Ingham County Prosecutor's officer.

"Just the charges alone are very, very sad," Bretz said. "It's sad for the criminal justice system. It's sad for our county."

Dunnings doesn't have to resign unless he's convicted of enough charges to have his license to practice law revoked (if he is convicted of the felony charge for pandering, that alone would get him disbarred).

"Does he have to resign? No, not yet. Should he resign? Yes," Bretz said. "And if not resign, at least take a complete leave of absence. It's just too hard on the office, and it causes too many problems."

Bretz says Dunnings' office, and the prosecutor, should still be able to prosecute other, unrelated prostitution cases.

"If there's that rare case where one of the women allegedly involved in Mr. Dunning's case is also involved in another prostitution case, now we've got somewhat of a conflict, and I would suspect Mr. Dunning's office would not be allowed to handle that case," Bretz said.

Attorney General Bill Schuette, who brought the charges against Dunnings, has not said that the prosecutor's office is connected with his alleged crimes. Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth says he still trusts the prosecutor's staff. "This is my 50th year in law enforcement. Never did I think I would be holding a press conference on something this slimy," Wriggelsworth said. "But I have great faith in the prosecutors there doing their job."

Bretz says it's unlikely anyone with a prostitution-related conviction in Ingham County will be able to appeal on the grounds of Dunnings' being charged with similar crimes.