An Un-Worthy Moment: Judge, Prosecutor, and Two Police Officers Indicted Over False Testimony in Drug Case

klw2While Judge Richards in Florida is rescuing witnesses in Florida, former Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mary Waterstone appeared on the other side of the bench this week as a criminal defendant. Waterstone joined a former prosecutor, Karen Plants, and two police officers Scott Rechtzigel and Robert McArthur as defendants in the case related to a 2005 drug trial. Controversy continues to swirl around the actions of Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy (left), who defended her prosecutor’s actions and resisted criminal charges — while aggressively pursuing the former mayor of Detroit and his aide for false testimony.

Plants is charged with five counts of misconduct and one count of conspiring to commit perjury. The two officers are charged with conspiring to commit perjury and one count each of misconduct. Judge Waterstone is charged with three counts of misconduct.

The officers are accused of lying to conceal the role of an informant in cocaine bust on March 11, 2005. When the case made its way to circuit court in September 2005, Waterstone allegedly knew of the cover-up and allowed the officers to testify that the informant did not have a connection to the police. Waterstone also barred the defense from seeing the informant’s cellphone record, which would have shown that the informant called one of the officers.

Plant never corrected the testimony and Waterstone is accused of knowing of the perjury by the officers.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy suspended Plants with pay last April after the State Attorney Grievance Commission brought a formal complaint. This would be a truly commendable case for Worthy in bringing such a prosecution. However, the high ground was lost by Worthy’s refusal to bring charges against her former assistant until the commission acted — insisting that Plants’ actions complied with Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.

After the allegations came forward, Worthy (who was doggedly pursuing Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his ex-chief of staff, Christine Beatty for perjury) insisted that her assistant did nothing wrong and praised her as “a lawyer of high integrity and competence.”

This is a rare and important case for the legal profession and the integrity of the court. Worthy could have garnered national acclaim as a prosecutor if she were not forced into the prosecution. Notably, when she tried to get other prosecutors to take the case from other jurisdiction, they all declined. What concerns me the most is that Worthy would look at this case and think that the conduct, at least by her prosecutor, was permissible.

News reports state that quote the transcripts with Judge Waterstone saying: “Questions regarding whether any of the witnesses had any prior contact with police officers will not be allowed.”

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Karen Plants states in the hearing: “If they don’t want any perjured testimony to come out, then they shouldn’t ask those questions.”

When Worthy was prosecuting the mayor, this is how she explained the need for a bright line rule against false testimony and any lawyers who participate in such betrayal of the legal system:

I hope it says that no one’s above the law, that the principles in the American system of justice are strong and they should be followed. That when you swear the oath to tell the truth it means something: that you should tell the truth. That that’s why we have all the actors in the criminal justice system who take those: witnesses, victims, police officers.

That’s why lawyers are sworn in, that’s why judges are sworn in, officeholders are sworn in; it means something.

And also that corruption in any form, especially for a public official, cannot be tolerated because you have that public trust. And when that public trust is eroded, people lose their trust in government.

Worthy recently was criticized for unpaid taxes after it became known that her home was in foreclosure.

For the full story, click here.

20 thoughts on “An Un-Worthy Moment: Judge, Prosecutor, and Two Police Officers Indicted Over False Testimony in Drug Case”

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  3. Here’a another air-tight case of police misconduct, and the state p.o.s.t. board is afraid to even investigate because the entire police force is guilty of racial discrimination, and corruption, so he just refused to investigate >>> <<<

  4. Why don’t you scan em and put them on display. So that all can see how creepy Detroit politics is.

  5. Mr. Turley-
    The FBI and JTC had ABSOLUTE evidence that Judge Waterstone has framed other defendants COMPLETELY innocent of the charges against them that she trumped up with the WCP office and DPD.
    If you would like the documents-let me know.

  6. Mike.

    Our name for our species is Homo Sapiens Sapiens which is Latin for man the wise the wise. In my opinion it is not an appropriate name, the name should be man the hypocrite the hypocrite.

    The defining characteristic of humans is to believe lies based on double standards, to pretend that there are universal rules of morality to the protection of which all members of our species are entitled but to be oblivious when those who do not matter do not receive the benefit of universal morality.

    The fact is that genocide and ethnic cleansing are typical human behaviours, even our closest animal relative the chimpanzees go in for them. The German Jewish Holocaust for example, rather than being an aberration, is a fairly middle of the road genocide only being unusual in that it was the first that had the full resources of an industrial state to implement it. It is the nature of genocide that states that carry it out lose historical memory of it, so in the US the vast majority of citizens are unaware of the genocide against the native Americans which probably is still going on today just as the corresponding genocide against the Australian aborigines still has not yet finished. Aborigines in Australia are still being murdered by police officers who are then acquitted of any crime by all white juries.

    Australia has one historian, Henry Reynolds who has looked very intently at relations between the Australian colonists and the aborigines and highlighted how it consists of a long list of mean acts that advantaged white colonists at the expense of the aborigines. The previous Australian prime minister, John Howard (of whom we are well rid) who was very much a soul mate of George W Bush, sneeringly dismisses Henry Reynolds writing as “black armband history”.

    I believe genocide is the appropriate term for what Australia did to its blacks, just as it is for America’s treatment of its native peoples. I also consider the “war on drugs” to be a slow motion holocaust against American Negroes. If you lock a people up for their productive years for enough generations, you eventually wipe them out.

    If you want one example that highlights the explicit racism of the drug war, it is the 1999 Tulia Texas cocaine bust of nearly 40 negroes in the small town of Tulia Texas. Nate Blakeslee has written a book a book
    that highligts the intersection of racism and the justice system in conjunction with the drug laws superbly.

    It is good to talk to someone like minded, but it more important to convince those who are not like minded. Of course the extreme fringe of Ku Kux Klan level racists will never be convinced, but there exists a significant proportion who are racist because they accept the backgrund beliefs of the society in which they live without actually focusing much attention on them. Their racism consists of certain ideas that reside in their collection of common sense. If one can get them to focus on these ideas and attitudes they can be won over.

  7. Carlyle,
    Long before the “War on Drugs” there was European Imperialism. Though it had been with us for thousands of years before, starting with the discovery of the America’s and the realization that there was money to be made in Africa, the countries of Europe began to exploit indigenous peoples for whatever material wealth they could find. They rationalized the brutality entailed by bringing along missionaries who were to save the heathens souls and by making these aboriginal peoples into something less than really human.

    In America, before slavery took hold a genocide was begun upon our Native Americans. I know only a little about Australia’s history but have little doubt the Aboriginal Peoples were also cast in a similar light, due to their supposed primitiveness and lack of knowledge of the Christian God. The major Islamic Caliphates did little better, decrying the savage infidels and justifying their being brought to Allah.

    This has been the way of humanity for all of recorded history and has allowed the prosecution of wars, genocides and all manner of brutality in the name of religion, or “racial” primacy. I see your point regarding the War on Drugs and it isn’t a bad one. I do at times feel despair though for the fate of my fellow humans, who will perpetrate these horrors, spurred on by greedy, ego-driven types who kill our young men to quench their quest for power. To drive away that despair and to tamp down my thoughts of the sadness of the human condition, is why I write here and seek to read the words of like-minded people, so that we may all comfort ourselves in the knowledge that hope stays alive and a better day may come for humanity.

    Australia is such a large country and your population is so relatively small that one would think that people could all get along together. Human nature and the rule of hierarchy is such that the false striving for dominance seems necessary to those drawn to the reins of power.

  8. Mike.

    Most race prejudice is unconscious and not all prejudiced people are intrinsicly evil. Many racists are suceptible to change in attitudes if the damage done by racism is pointed out to them.
    This is why I take many opportunities to point out the racist effects of the war on drugs on disadvantaged minorities by posting on blogs.

    I am a long distance observer of US problems as I am an Australia and have never visited America. I view American events and issues via the blogs and online sites of papers and magazines. Australia has not gone nearly as far with drug war stupidity as the US has though we have our own right wing politicians who are vigorous proponents of harm maximization. Australia has its own black minority who are treated every bit as badly as are American blacks, but they are descendants of the original occupants rather than of slaves. Overall I think Australia is less racist than the US but Australia’s anti-aboriginal racism is as viscious as the worst from anywhere.

    Since many supporters of the war on drugs think that it exists for the stated reasons it is appropriate to point out that it is not working with respect to these, but I think the racism drive is important enough that it needs to be targeted by critics, but that is not happening to the extent it needs to happen. Especially black critics need to be more outspoken.

  9. “What I do not understand is why truths that are so obvious to you and me are not appearing everywhere in drug reform posts on the internet.”

    I think the answer lies in the things we agree on. The amount of racism that exists unseen in America’s consciousness is bigger than people imagine. Many white people do really believe that President Obama’s inauguration has mostly put the issue to rest. People, who do not harbor great prejudice are ignorant, or don’t want to see, the inherent racism that informs our culture. Last night I was watching Bill Maher’s show on HBO and Mos Def was articulating some potent insights, but the reactions of Maher, Salman Rushdie and Chris Hitchens couldn’t quite get what he was saying.

    I don’t think any of them are racist per se, but unless the Black person talking is Cornel West, there is the tendency to take his/her heartfelt expressions with a grain of salt.
    This is also true of other people of different toned skin and the reactions to them. Hispanic culture has produced some great thinkers, but a heavily accented person is accorded less serious consideration, despite whatever intellect is displayed.

    We are acculturated through stereotypes that influence the way we view the “other” negatively. For all i know this may be hardwired into our brains. However, the simplest answer to me is that for some reason I notice nuances in media and literature that create negative stereotypes, that most people are unaware of. In my opinion due to these stereotypes it is hard for the average white person to “get”
    the racist underbelly of drug laws. These could be fair minded people, who don’t fully see the effect on themselves of societal stereotypes. By the way I’m not saying that I’m immune to stereotyping, or prejudice myself, I’m not.

    When it comes to Black people though, my second oldest memory is being four years old and my Mother having returned from a convalescent stay in N.C. All she could talk about was how angry she was at segregation and furious when a black friend she had made couldn’t sit on the bus with her. That was 1948 and it affected my future perceptions of the world. Nevertheless, as a Jew I would never visit Germany, which is irrational and of course I have certain negative stereotypes of Arabs, that I rationally know are false. So perhaps “hardwiring” to distrust the “other” does have real basis in fact.

    President Obama this week when asked about legalizing marijuana answered in the negative. Had he not we would have had at least a 2 week news cycle of criticism that would drown out the things he is trying to do. He’s way to smart to fall into that trap and yet I believe he personally knows the score and is sympathetic. Such is the propaganda that has been put forth regarding drugs in the US. Ti tie these laws to racism, as every person of color already knows, is too complex(sadly so)an argument to convince a majority of Americans, so I think that’s why it has to be approached from a less nuanced perspective.

    I am not happy about that because I am not happy about how the public discussion of innate racism goes in the US. The
    trouble is that prejudice dies hard, and unconscious prejudice is even more pernicious.

  10. Mike.

    What I do not understand is why truths that are so obvious to you and me are not appearing everywhere in drug reform posts on the internet.

    To solve a problem one has to focus on its causes, and all the drug war opponents are focusing on the dishonest stated causes not the real cause which is racism. Is it that they fail to see the influence racism or is it that they are afraid that attacking it would be counter productive because racists would be so offended at being called out on their attitudes? True some racists will create a backlash if confronted, but not all racists are evil, they may simply be unaware of how prejudice is distorting their beliefs. Their are techniques such as those developed by Jane Elliot (See the movie ‘Blue Eyed’) that do work to ameliorate racist attitudes.

    Two sites with good commentary on the “drug war” that I visit every day are The agitator at and Drug War Rant at

  11. Carlyle,
    Once again I have to agree with the truth of what you said, but just add some supportive comment. As an ex-Hippie and minor Movement member I have clear memories of a phenomenon that occurred past the time of Dr. King’s death.

    As a Welfare Worker I covered the Black NYC communities of Ocean Hill Brownsville and Bedford Stuyvesant. Half of the people I worked in Welfare with were Black/Hispanic and lived in the area. When we got together socially and in our experiences with the community people we were overwhelmingly Pot smokers and users of Psychedelics.

    After Dr. King’s death the areas I worked in, indeed all of Brooklyn, became infested with a new, cheap heroin. Until then, heroin use had been in steep decline having peaked in the mid 50’s and now replaced by milder, non addictive forms of getting high. Heroin again shot to the top of the charts being cheap, easy to score and presumably hip. It ravaged the communities I worked with, led to a spike in crime and I believe, along with MLK’s death, fractured the Civil Rights movement and gave scared white America another Black Bogeyman.

    Interestingly, as the truths about Nam came out in later years we learned that in order to get the tribes in the Golden Triangle, Poppy Country in Nam, to fight for the South
    Vietnamese the CIA took over the transport of Heroin to the US. Coincidence? I think not. Nixon/Hoover? I think so.

    You are directly correct. The War on Drugs is a war on people of color as a means of ravaging their communities, jailing people and propagandizing the innate prejudice that “these folk” are lesser people and different from white America. I believe this with all my heart, but the problem is that in discussion explaining the nuances takes a long time and many decent hearted white Americans don’t get it, or find it hard to believe that this could be true. Since I’ve always been against the War on Drugs I have found the easier course to be using their own false claims against the proponents. i.e. it doesn’t work, it costs to much…etc.

    Finally, I also feel forced, or liberated to say this, which is that I as a white man (see my picture)have some sense of it when you state:

    “Ever since the abolition of slavery white Americans have been trying different methods of social control to keep niggers from getting uppity, the war against drugs which started in the seventies as a counter attack on the civil rights movement is only the latest of these.”

    These are words of truth. Please understand that I am no longer a radical in the sense of being connected to any political movement besides the Democratic Party. This is because I am too much of an iconoclast to follow anyone’s party line and I found that people on the left can be as ego driven and self serving as those on the right.

    Yet as a man of 64, who was brought up by non-racist parents I have observed the scene all my life. Also my extensive experience working in supposed “Ghetto” communities, day and night, never being assaulted verbally or physically, with the worst crime I’ve observed being a street corner dope deal, has informed my knowledge. This juxtaposed with the
    “if it bleeds, it leads” newscasts that inevitably show perpetrators as people of color.

    Then too in my experience I watch how people of color talk in the movies and TV and it doesn’t match up with my experience. In these portrayals one sees stereotypes of people of color, that are not born out by actually knowing real people and even when they are supposedly sympathetic portrays people of a less sophisticated mentality.

    While my wife and I wept unashamedly on election night seeing that some of the evil prejudice in the US had been overcome, I couldn’t help but think back to the old days.
    Then if you confronted someone about racism and pointed out that a black co-worker wasn’t at all like that, the response would be “Well he’s okay….but the rest of them…….” I apologize for this long, rambling comment, but in your two posts you summed up so well and with brevity, thoughts that I’ve had for a long time, I needed to respond to them from my heart and from my experience.

  12. Mike. Those who say that the war against drugs is failing are mistaking the stated purposes for the intended purposes.

    People do not persist with a policy as long as they have with the “anti drug” policy if it is not giving them something that they want.

    The fact is that anti-Negro racism is a major driver of the drug war as it is so effective in marginalizing black people, preventing their upward social mobility and justifying other discrimination against them. Ever since the abolition of slavery white Americans have been trying different methods of social control to keep niggers from getting uppity, the war against drugs which started in the seventies as a counter attack on the civil rights movement is only the latest of these.

    Also racism against other groups, mainly Chinese and Mexicans was a driver of drug prohibition before it became directed agains negors. Opium was banned because Chinese smoked it and it was a good way of turning them into criminals, marijuana was banned because it allowed the law to target Mexicans.

  13. Carlyle,
    Not sure about some of your word choices, but on the whole you sum up the stupidity of the War on Drugs pretty well.

  14. You know something is wrong with the Judicial System when the Defendant’s Conviction is upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals while blasting the Judge, Prosecutor and the Cops. Something is bad, bad wrong.

  15. “The War on Drugs marches forward for the greater good … of who?”

    Actually the war on niggers and poor people benefits many. The following list is doubtless incomplete but gives some idea.

    1/ Corrupt police because they have more opportunities for profitable corruption;

    2/ Honest police because there are more jobs for them trying to prevent normal human behaviour;

    3/ Unskilled white workers get the jobs that the imprisoned and ex-felon nigger drug criminals are not getting. White unemployment is lower at the expense of blacks;

    4/ Rich white investors in private prisons get dividends from the incarceration of black drug traffickers;

    5/ Prisons private and otherwise are normally set up in declining white majority rural area where they boost the white economy and provide jobs for poor white trash who would otherwise be unemployed;

    6/ Prisons in rural areas transfer population from inner city high crime areas to the rural areas increasing the voting power of the undisenfranchised free (white mainly) citizens. Prisoners of course do not vote.

    7/ Disenfranchisement of prisoners and those released after a felony conviction, strip these of the ability to vote against politicians who are hostile to their interests and push American politics further to the right than it would otherwise be. This helps tilt the terms of trade between the rich and the non-rich in favour of the rich.

    8/ Investors in drug testing equipment beneft from the need to test probationers and school children for drugs;

    9/ Insurance companies and investors benefit from widespread fear of crime prompting over insurance;

    10/ Anti-negro racists benefit because they have a means of discriminating against black people that is accepted as legitimate.

  16. I think the whole thing STINKS! The judge, prosecutor and officers perjured themselves and should suffer the same consequences as and other person. They should all get a chance to visit the cell that Kwami and Ms. Beatty used!

    If a judge is allowed to collude against a defendant, the rule of law is gone and vigilanty justice prevails.

  17. “I hope it says that no one’s above the law, that the principles in the American system of justice are strong and they should be followed. That when you swear the oath to tell the truth it means something: that you should tell the truth. That that’s why we have all the actors in the criminal justice system who take those: witnesses, victims, police officers.

    That’s why lawyers are sworn in, that’s why judges are sworn in, officeholders are sworn in; it means something.”


    Make you wonder why some Repub committee chairpersons in Congress didn’t require some Bush Administration witnesses to be sworn in before testifying. I guess when you testify WITHOUT being sworn, that means something too.

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