Top Michigan Court Spikes Charges Against Ex-Gov, 8 Others In Flint Water Poisoning Scandal

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

Michigan Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that charges against former Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others related to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis must be dismissed.

The court ruled that a judge did not have the power to issue indictments against Snyder and others as the law used against them was a century old and rarely used, according to ABC News.

Attorney General Dana Nessel previously removed the special prosecutor on the case and another team to investigate the 2014-2015 contamination of Flint’s water supply, according to ABC News.

Michigan’s state laws “authorize a judge to investigate, subpoena witnesses, and issue arrest warrants” as a one-person grand jury, the Supreme Court said in a 6-0 opinion, according to ABC, “but they do not authorize the judge to issue indictments.”

The decision applies to Snyder and others indicted by Genesee County Judge David Newblatt, the outlet noted. (RELATED: Call Al Gore! The Polar Bears Aren’t Going To Die After All)

Snyder had been previously charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. Former health director Nick Lyon and former chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells were charged with involuntary manslaughter for nine deaths related to Legionnaires disease, reportedly stemming from the decision to switch Flint’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River.

Six other individuals were also previously indicted, including Snyder’s longtime fixer, Rich Baird; former senior aide Jarrod Agen; former Flint managers Gerald Ambrose and Darnell Earley; former Flint public works chief Howard Croft; and state health department manager Nancy Peeler, ABC noted. The state of Michigan agreed to pay $600 million in part of a $626 million settlement to Flint residents and property owners harmed by the lead-tainted water, and 10,100 lead or steel water lines were replaced in the town by December 2021.