By Jameson Cook, The Macomb Daily
Posted: 07/15/14, 5:06 PM EDT
Wayne County prosecutors are seeking the resentencing of one of the Steven Utash’s mob beaters who they say received too little punishment.
Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said Tuesday her office will file a resentencing motion for defendant James Deontae Davis, who was ordered to serve five years probation, with the first year in the county jail. The term, ordered by circuit court Judge James Callahan, was below the sentencing guideline range of 19 to 38 months in state prison.
Judges are required to articulate “substantial and compelling” reasons to depart below or above the guideline range or face reversal by the state court of Appeals.
“We believe the substantial and compelling reasons placed on the record do not comport with case law,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey said at Davis’ sentencing last week.
Callahan said at the time he departed due to Davis’ “youth and what I believe is an honest expression of remorse, and his apologies not only to the Utash family, his family but also the community of Detroit.”
Rick Murley, Utash’s brother-in-law, said afterward he was “very disappointed” with the sentence.
Davis’ attorney, Jason Malkiewicz, conceded afterward his client received a break but that the judge “did the right thing.”
The motion on the hearing will be held July 25 at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Prosecutors could appeal that decision to the appeals court.
Davis, 25, was the fourth of five defendants to be sentenced for the April 2 beating of Utash on Morang in Detroit after he stopped to check on a 10-year-old boy whom he accidentally struck with a pickup truck. Police believe about 15 people participated in the beating.
Davis, who had only one minor offense on his criminal record, has received the second longest of the four punished so far. Wonzey Saffold, 30, was sentenced to 6-1/3 to 10 years in prison; his guideline range was higher because of three prior criminal convictions. Bruce Wimbush Jr., 18, was sentenced to three years probation, while juvenile defendant Courtney Robinson was sentenced to an indefinite time in residential detention.
The fifth defendant, Latrez Cummings, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.
The four adults were charged with attempted murder, punishable by up to life in prison, and pleaded guilty to assault with intent to do great bodily harm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The juvenile was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation, and pleaded guilty to the assault.