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Prosecutor: Judge too lenient with defendant in Detroit beating case

A judge justified the lenient sentence he gave a young man for beating a Detroit motorist by saying, "We've all been 19 years of age."
By Frances Burns   |   July 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM   |   Comments

DETROIT, July 17 (UPI) -- A young man sentenced to six months for joining in the beating of a Detroit motorist does not deserve the break the judge gave him, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Latrez Cummings, 19, was the last of five people sentenced for the attack on Steven Utash, 54. A group of men attacked Utash, who lives in suburban Clinton Township, in April after he struck a boy with his pickup truck.

Circuit Judge James Callahan sentenced Cummings under a law for youthful offenders. He must spend three years on intensive probation and could eventually have his felony conviction expunged.

Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey strongly objected, saying that Cummings falsely told the court he was in school and is said to be a member of a gang.

"There is nothing in this report favorable to this young man," Lindsey said.

Callahan acknowledged Cummings lied to him but said the short prison term is appropriate: "We've all been 19 years of age."

Lindsey has asked the judge to reconsider the year's incarceration he gave James Deontae Davis, 24. Under Michigan guidelines, Davis could have been sentenced to 19 to 38 months.

Wonzey Saffold, at 30 the oldest defendant, was sentenced to six to 10 years. Bruce Wimbush Jr., 19, got three years probation. The fifth defendant, a juvenile, is being sent to a residential facility, his lawyer said.

Utash's family said he is unable to drive or work because of his injuries. Investigators said that he was not at fault in the crash because the 10-year-old boy ran in front of his pickup truck and that he stopped as soon as he realized he had struck someone.

Utash ended up more seriously hurt than the boy. Prosecutors said the case was a difficult one because few witnesses came forward.

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