Brian Morrow, Wayne Co. prosecutor who helped troubled youth, dies
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Brian L. Morrow's job was prosecuting young offenders, but he also had a reputation for mentoring troubled and at-risk youth.
The prosecutor created and implemented a nationally recognized "Teen Court" program to give teenage offenders a chance and avoid criminal charges and turn their lives around.
Mr. Morrow, a Northville Township resident, died suddenly Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. He was 62. No cause of death has been determined, said his wife, Mary DuFour Morrow. An autopsy is planned.
Born in Royal Oak, Mr. Morrow was a graduate of Michigan State University. He was a member of MSU's varsity fencing team. He earned his law degree from Wayne State University.
Mr. Morrow began as a criminal defense attorney, specializing in capital cases and juvenile delinquency cases. He was appointed deputy chief of the Juvenile Division of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in 2004. He supervised and mentored 19 assistant prosecutors and litigated the most serious cases his office handled, including armed robberies, carjackings, and homicides, according to an obituary by his family.
Mr. Morrow prosecuted and won a conviction in 2016 against a teen who murdered 23-year-old French street artist Bilal Berreni, who was found fatally wounded on the grounds of the former Brewster Projects near downtown Detroit.
While it was Mr. Morrow's job to prosecute youth offenders, friends say he worked hard to try to help steer them away from troubled lives and a life of crime.
In 2014, the State Bar of Michigan named Mr. Morrow a "Champion of Justice" for his work on his "Teen Court" program, saying "He had done more over the last decade to keep Michigan teens from lives of crime than anyone else in the state."
Attorneys and judges are named a "Champion of Justice" for demonstrating "integrity and adherence to the highest principles and traditions" of the legal profession. Mr. Morrow also was honored with the Anthony C. Wayne Award by Wayne County. The honor is given to employees who have shown "exceptional leadership."
“There was no one like Brian Morrow," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "He was a kind, accessible compassionate and dedicated man — to his family, his friends, and to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office."
Worthy added that Mr. Morrow was "was a personal friend, very well liked and the architect of our Teen Court Program."
"He believed deeply in public service and led our office’s effort to build homes in Detroit through the Habitat for Humanity for years," she said. "Brian will be deeply missed. The citizens of Wayne County have lost a true champion."
Mr. Morrow taught criminal law at Eastern Michigan University. Last year, he traveled to Russia to teach juvenile justice classes at Kazan Federal University.
A long-time Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Mr. Morrow and his wife founded and funded the "Brian and Mary Morrow Community Service Scholarship" for high school graduates who committed to community service.
Mr. Morrow enjoyed skydiving, hang gliding and barnstorming in World War I biplanes, his wife said.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his children, Mark and Charlotte Morrow; and his sister, Marilyn Bishop.
Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park. The funeral is scheduled for noon Friday at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church, 157 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms.
Mr. Morrow's remains will be given to the Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) program at Northern Michigan University, said his wife.
Memorial tributes may be made to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, 26777 Halsted Road, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI, 48331