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Posted on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township Attorney: 'The time to take ownership of this issue is now'

By Guest Column

Follow this story here: Ypsilanti Township attorney 'shocked to the core' by brutal 2009 rape, says state reform needed

Ypsilanti Township Attorney Doug Winters wrote the following letter to the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees after reading article "Police: DNA links Ypsilanti Township man to brutal 2009 rape."

As I am sure all of you would agree, there comes a time when it becomes necessary for a body politic and/or an individual to stand up and take the lead on an issue (which for reasons that are incomprehensible to me have been woefully put on the back burner by the Michigan Legislature and the Governor) which has resulted in a daily and imminent threat to the public especially women and children. That time is now as it pertains to the abject failure of the State of Michigan to properly fund the Michigan State Police Crime Lab vis-à-vis the analysis of DNA “Rape Kits” which has shamefully resulted in criminal sexual predators being allowed to roam freely throughout this State (in some cases for years) while the State drags its feet in apprehending these predators when we have the technology at our fingertips to have these predators identified, arrested and prosecuted for their heinous crimes in a timely manner.

I was absolutely taken aback and “shocked to the core” when I read the account of a heinous crime that occurred in the Township back in 2009 which article was posted on Oct.16 by entitled “Police: DNA links Ypsilanti Township man to brutal 2009 rape.” I have attached a copy of this account for your review.

It is hard to find the right adjectives to express my frustration and outrage with the failure of our State to properly fund the Michigan State Police Crime Lab which analyzes the Rape Kits in an effort to identify the DNA, which as we know can then be run through national and state databases in an effort to match the DNA sample with a person who may have perpetrated the sexual assault. In the instant case described in the article, the defendant is a convicted felon whose DNA sample has been on file with the State of Michigan since 1990 when he was convicted of two counts of vehicle theft. This defendant was ultimately released from prison in June 2005 after having his sentence increased for possessing a weapon while an inmate in the Ionia Correctional Facility!

While it is not clear as to what crimes, if any, he may have committed between 2005 and 2009, one fact which is clearly indisputable is the date in which the woman was assaulted in the Township, to wit: March 29, 2009. During this assault this predator “…attempted to slash her throat, but she was able to get her hand up to block it...the knife cut her hand, damaging all the tendons.” Compounding this reprehensible and vicious assault is the fact that while the assailant was not immediately apprehended “…numerous items taken from the crime scene [were] sent to a Michigan State Police Lab for analysis, which can be a very lengthy process.” To state that a three year delay in having this Rape Kit analyzed by the State Police as being a “very lengthy process” may very well qualify as being the understatement of my entire adult life.

What is even more tragic about this specific case is the fact that after this vicious assault occurred on March 29, 2009, the person who was arrested on Aug. 2, 2012 for this crime had spent the last two years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for carrying a concealed weapon! Again, according to, this assailant/defendant was incarcerated from January 2010 to January 2012, wherein he was then released upon society to potentially assault other innocent victims. Obviously, if the Rape Kit had been analyzed immediately after the assault occurred, at a minimum the assailant could have been charged while he was still an inmate with the MDOC as opposed to being released where not only did he pose a threat to his previous victim, but to the public at large.

There is something drastically wrong with this scenario and we as a State must immediately change the funding priorities so as to insure that any victim of a sexual assault crime wherein DNA evidence has been obtained is processed forthwith. To require this victim to wait more than three years to have her assailant’s DNA tested by the State Police Crime Lab is reprehensible and unacceptable to any civilized society.

Ironically, while thousands of Rape Kits remain on the shelves of the State Police Crime Lab going untested, the State of Michigan continues to saturate the airwaves with its “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign and has allocated millions of dollars in funding to try and attract tourists to come to our State. There is obviously a disconnect in my mind as to how you can spend tens of millions of dollars in trying to persuade tourists and even businesses to come visit and perhaps locate in our State when Michigan has failed miserably in allocating the proper resources to fund the State Police Crime Lab thereby enhancing public safety.

We must once and for all act now and DEMAND that our State give the highest priority to public safety and likewise demand this become a priority to our State Representatives and Senators so as to give it the consideration it deserves. This “priority” will then truly make Michigan the state where people will want to visit, relocate and raise families. The time to take ownership of this issue is now, and I will do everything within my power to be of assistance in being an advocate for this issue.

If after review of this correspondence and attachment you have any questions or I can be of further assistance, please contact me.

Very truly yours, Wm. Douglas Winters



Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

Well said. The fiscal priorities of the present Governor have not included the protection women and children, who are the most likely to be the victims of rape, and on whose backs he's placed most of his cuts.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

This is not a political issue, and your attempt to make it one is misinformed. The previous governor's administration is responsible for eight years of cuts to the MSP budget, as well as the decimation of the budgets for the agencies that are currently under fire for failure to adequately supervise violent parolees. The current governor has actually been responsible for restoring small small amounts of funding. You can also thank the previous administration for the steady stream of violent offenders that has been released into our communities over the last 10 years, most with zero notification to local law enforcement authorities and with little or no on-going supervision. I say this as someone who voted for the woman twice, votes I have come to deeply regret.

no flamers!

Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

While I generally agree with Mr. Winters on this topic, the position of the MI Crime Lab on the cause of the delay and whether more money would solve the problem is not present in the story and so we don't really know the whole story. That said, funding the crime lab that does DNA analysis is a critical part of law enforcement; if the State can afford to have an officer parked on I-94 east of Belleville 5 days a week running radar, then the State can afford a crime lab that produces timely results.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Part of the problem is that existing staff have been overwhelmed with the aftermath of the criminal incompetence perpetrated by the city of Detroit at their crime "lab." MSP was charged with having to redo countless tests by unqualified Detroit lab personnel, the earlier results of which were exposed as being suspect. MSP also had hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of untested evidence that were "discovered" abandoned in the old Detroit lab. That situation alone was probably enough to keep it busy for a few years. Add the ever increasing number of samples being collected as a result of law changes, and not enough new staff, and you arrive where we are today. I'd like to hear from MSP about what they think they need to fix this, also. Maybe can do some interviews and publish a follow-up story.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

The next Ypsi Township board meeting is this Monday. If this issue is important to you, please consider attending the meeting to let the board know. If you can't make the meeting, please consider an email to board members to voice your concern and urge the board to be heard on a state level. Email contact info for board members is here:

Martin Church

Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

While I agree with Mr. Winters, the anyaling of rape kits do take a long time, I would like to ask of him several questions. 1. what areas are you willing to cut in our budget to fund the Crime Lab. 2. do you really want a rush job on the anaylizes which may lead to the criminal walking free. Similar to what happened in Detroit when things were not controlled. 3. How meany rape kits does the State Police deal with on a daily basis. We don't have the funds to fund everything. so tell us what you will cut.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

If you read the article, it appears Mr. Winters has already offered at least one prime opportunity for funding, and that is the millions going toward advertising the state by way of the Pure Michigan campaign. Doesn't do much good to spend millions to get people here if they have a good chance of being assaulted and/or killed when they get here, right?


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

Mr. Winters has done a superb job of articulating the need for improved funding for the Michigan State Police Crime Lab. It is in the best interest of all citizens that better funding is put in place, sooner rather than later!