Genesee County Prosecutor calls for Man’s Release from Prison

FLINT, MI – Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton has joined the clemency application submitted to the Governor for the commutation of sentence for Michael Alonzo Thompson who has been incarcerated in state prison since 1996.

In 1996, a jury found Michael Thompson, 68-years-old, of Flint, guilty on all five felony counts filed against him related to a 1994 drug and weapons incident. The Judge in the case sentenced him to a minimum 40 years in prison. Originally, there was a plea agreement negotiated between the defendant and the prosecutor’s office whereby three counts would be dismissed and Thompson would plead to the remaining two counts in exchange for a sentence of probation.

The judge rejected the plea agreement and the case proceeded to trial. “I was not the elected Prosecutor at the time but, what I can say based on my review of the case file almost 25 years later is that the sentence handed down by the judge certainly appears to be disproportionate to the crime committed,” said Prosecutor Leyton.

“Even if you include Mr. Thompson’s prior convictions, which the judge did do, the sentence he received appears harsh and goes against the interests of justice and fairness and that is why I am joining Mr. Thompson’s counsel in his application for clemency,” Leyton said.

Prosecutor Leyton and Mr. Thompson’s attorneys also maintain that he has served sufficient time to repay his debt to society. Additionally, they pointed out Mr. Thompson’s institutional record over the past 24 years in prison and his advanced age support a conclusion that his release presents a minimal threat of harm to the people of Michigan.

Additionally, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the letter to Governor Whitmer and the parole board points out that the Michigan Department of Corrections faces unprecedented challenges to prisoner health and safety. It also stated Mr. Thompson is nearly sixty-nine years old and is facing the onset of type two diabetes. Considering these factors, Prosecutor Leyton and Mr. Thompson’s lawyers maintain that Mr. Thompson is uniquely vulnerable to life-threatening complications of COVID-19.

Accordingly, Prosecutor Leyton and Mr. Thompson’s lawyers are jointly requesting that his Application for Clemency be expedited pursuant to state law MCL 729.44a. “I have always held firm and publicly stated that my osition as the Genesee County Prosecutor is that of a minister of justice” said Prosecutor Leyton.

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