Donald Shelton, chief judge of Washtenaw County’s 22nd Circuit Court, has declined to sanction Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy in connection with a motion she filed last year in the Neal v. Michigan Dept. of Corrections case.
However, in the course of oral arguments heard this week, Shelton appeared to indicate basic agreement with the points of the presentation given by Dick Soble, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys in the case, who had asked for sanctions against Worthy. The Wayne County prosecutor is involved in the case as an intervenor, and was represented during oral arguments by Donn Fresard, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office chief of staff. Sanctions had also been sought against Fresard.
Soble and other opposing counsel had asked for sanctions against the Wayne County prosecutors because of their motion for recusal of judge Timothy Connors from the case – a motion filed on Nov. 1, 2012, five days before the Nov. 6 election. Soble contended that the motion had no legal merit, and instead had political motives. The incumbent Connors was opposed in the race by Michael Woodyard, who works as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Worthy’s office. Connors prevailed in that election.
The oral arguments and Shelton’s ruling from the bench came on Jan. 16, 2013 at the Washtenaw County courthouse at Huron and Main in downtown Ann Arbor.
Despite his decision not to sanction the Wayne County prosecutors, Shelton had some sharp words for their actions. He indicated that if similar filings were to come before him again in connection with the case, he would not hesitate to impose sanctions.