Indictments in Flint Water Disaster Are Invalid, Michigan Supreme Court docket Finds
The Michigan Supreme Court docket mentioned Tuesday that indictments towards former prime state officers over the Flint water disaster had been issued improperly, upending a number of the highest-profile prosecutions in latest state historical past and leaving residents whose faucet water turned poisonous with none accountability in legal courtroom.
In bringing prices final yr towards Michigan officers, together with former Gov. Rick Snyder, prosecutors mentioned that they had failed to guard the protection and well being of Flint residents, who have been sickened by elevated ranges of lead and by Legionnaires’ illness after the town’s water provide was switched to the Flint River in April 2014.
However prosecutors appointed by Lawyer Normal Dana Nessel, a Democrat, relied on a one-man grand jury to problem indictments towards Mr. Snyder, a Republican, and eight others, together with the previous state well being director and the state’s former chief medical officer. The Supreme Court docket mentioned Tuesday that single-person grand juries couldn’t be utilized in that means.
Three defendants, not together with Mr. Snyder, had challenged using the one-man grand jury, however the courtroom’s resolution additionally appeared prone to upset the prosecutions of the opposite defendants. An official in Ms. Nessel’s workplace mentioned prosecutors have been reviewing the choice. It was not clear whether or not they supposed to pursue new prices.
Not less than 9 folks died of Legionnaires’ within the Flint area from June 2014 by October 2015. The water disaster, which resulted in elevated lead ranges amongst 1000’s of individuals in Flint, has left numerous households distrustful of the water provide, at the same time as metropolis officers insist that it’s now protected to drink.
The costs introduced by Ms. Nessel’s workforce have been a second try at prosecuting officers for what had occurred in Flint. Earlier than Ms. Nessel took workplace, her Republican predecessor helped oversee circumstances towards 15 state and native officers for crimes as severe as involuntary manslaughter. However Ms. Nessel’s workforce had these circumstances dismissed in 2019 earlier than submitting new prices towards a number of of the identical officers.
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