Former prosecutor Stuart Dunnings sentenced to 1 year in jail

LANSING, MICH. - Former Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney Stuart Dunnings III will report to the Ingham County Jail by 6 p.m. Friday to begin his sentence of three years probation, with the first year served in jail, a judge ordered Tuesday.

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Farah — presiding over sentencing because Inhgam County judges recused themselves — sentenced Dunnings, 64, in a courtroom on the third floor of Veterans Memorial Courthouse where thousands of other criminal cases were prosecuted on his behalf.

Dunnings was arrested March 14 outside a coffee shop in Lansing and pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to misconduct in office and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in the services of a prostitute. He had been facing 15 prostitution-related charges, including a 20-year felony, spread over three counties.

Dunnings’ attorneys raised the issue that he may have to serve the time in another jail because of his former role as the county’s prosecutor. Farah indicated attorneys need to resolve that issue prior to 6 p.m. Friday. Dunnings was given credit for one day served, although he has never spent the night in jail. He appeared at the jail briefly in March for his arraignment on felony and misdemeanor charges.

Earlier: Sheriff: Stuart Dunnings' prostitution rumors 10 years old

Farah added that any further requests to the court for jail credits would be denied, and that it is his intention that Dunnings serve his full jail sentence.

Attorney General Bill Schuette's office and Dunnings' attorneys reached a plea deal that allowed the former county prosecuting to plead guilty to misconduct in office — a five-year felony — and a single misdemeanor charge.

Dunnings declined comment to reporters as he walked out of court with his attorney.

During a news conference in March announcing charges, Schuette, whose office prosecuted the case, said Dunnings paid for sex hundreds of times and used his position of power to coerce a woman to be paid for sex.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said officials are making arrangements for Dunnings to be held at a county jail outside of Ingham County. He said if those arrangements can't be made, and Dunnings were to be housed in the Ingham County jail, he would be held in facilities separate from other inmates.

Dunnings was first elected as county prosecutor in 1996. He resigned in July, just six months shy of a 20-year tenure as Ingham County's top law enforcement officer.

Gretchen Whitmer was appointed to serve the remainder of his term and voters elected Democrat Carol Siemon on Tuesday to serve as the next prosecutor. She will take office Jan. 1.

Attorneys for one of Dunnings' victims issued a statement following the sentencing. The woman was designated by prosecutors at W-6, the sixth of Dunnings' victims.

"Our independent investigation as it pertains to these matters is ongoing," the statement read. "Our firm continues to represent W-6 in all matters related to this incident. After a comprehensive review, a decision will be made regarding what action is appropriate for our client."

 

Investigative reports made public last month by the State Journal show that some police and county employees were aware of Dunnings' questionable conduct long before a criminal investigation into his dealings with prostitutes was launched. The investigation was conducted by the Ingham County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.

Some of those records even indicate Dunnings enlisted aid from other public employees who might not have known that at least some women they helped were prostitutes with whom Dunnings had relationships.

Dunnings' wife, Cynthia Dunnings, filed for divorce March 18. The divorce case is ongoing, with court hearings set for 2017.

Lansing State Journal


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