How to replace a Prosecutor

Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 09:34:59-04

He's got 15 charges against him - one is a 20-year felony, but Stuart Dunnings III is innocent until proven guilty.

"The big problem is what this does to our county, to our prosecutor's office. The black eye, if you will the shame of it and uh where do we go from here?" said Criminal law expert, Ron Bretz.

He said this period is going to be tough on the Prosecutor's office.

And, Patrick O'Keefe, a former Assistant Prosecutor in Ingham County from 2007 to 2013, agreed. But, he told me much of the team should be able to handle the added stress.

"Some of the assistants have been working an entire career in that office," he said. "I am friends with many of them and I know that they're going to continue to do - it's business as usual for them."

O'Keefe said he left his position in 2013 because he was concerned about Dunning's leadership and something needs to change for the good of the County.

He explained, "Someone needs to get in there, someone needs to clean up that office, someone needs to start asking questions about what was going on, who knew what was going on. And, that office needs to go in a completely different direction and I intend to do that."

O'Keefe will be running in the November election to take Dunnings's seat; but, until then, Dunnings still holds the title.

Unless, Attorney General Bill Schuette decided Dunnings is no longer capable of performing the job. He could remove the Prosecutor even if he hasn't been convicted of a crime.

The Circuit Court Judges would choose a replacement whether Dunnings is removed from office or resigns.

"This is a very very ugly moment," Bretz said. "I think every reasonable person believes Mr. Dunnings has to step aside, one way or another."

If Dunnings is convicted of a crime, he would be disbarred, which would make him ineligible to be a prosecutor.

We'll let you know how the case plays out.

Two days after he was charged with prostitution related crimes, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was back at work Wednesday. Two sources tell us he was in the office this morning. However, the staff told us he wasn't there by the time we arrived. We reached out to him to for comment on the charges, but he has not responded.