Jun 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Michigan Supreme Court voids indictments in Flint water probe

Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 30, 2018.

Rick Snyder speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 30. Photo: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in the Flint water probe, ruling that the lower court judge lacked the legal authority to issue the indictments.

Driving the news: "[State laws] authorize a judge to investigate, subpoena witnesses and issue arrest warrants," the Supreme Court said. "But they do not authorize the judge to issue indictments."

  • Tuesday's ruling also clears Snyder's health director and seven other people of charges in connection with the investigation into the water crisis.
  • The state's Supreme Court also said that in the case of a one-judge grand jury — as in the Flint water probe — "the accused is entitled to a preliminary examination before being brought to trial."

The big picture: Flint's drinking water was contaminated with high levels of lead in 2014, which contributed to an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.

  • Fetal death rates jumped 58%, lead levels in children's blood spiked and thousands of residents were told in 2017 they would lose their homes if they didn't pay their water bills, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.
  • Snyder in 2021 was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty as a result of an investigation into the water crisis.

Go deeper... Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder charged in Flint water probe

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