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Judge will consider dismissing Flint water crisis criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (file photo)

It's now up to a Circuit Court Judge to decide whether to dismiss criminal charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder.

Snyder was among nine former government officials charged last year as part of an investigation into the Flint water crisis.

But the criminal investigation has been upended by recent court rulings.

In June, the Michigan Supreme Court found the one-person grand jury used by prosecutors to obtain indictments was flawed. Earlier this month, a different judge, citing the supreme court decision, dismissed felony charges against seven of the defendants. Prosecutors plan to appeal the judge’s ruling dismissing the felony charges in the case.

The decision did not affect the cases against former Gov. Rick Snyder and former Flint Public Works director Howard Croft. Both are facing misdemeanor charges.

In court Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Chris Kessel argued the former governor’s case is different, because he’s charged with misdemeanors.

“What does this indictment act like?” Kessel argued before the judge, “Does it act like a formal indictment? Was it filed in circuit court? No, it wasn’t. Does it charge felonies? No, it doesn’t. and does it deny this defendant any rights he would have if this document was entitled ‘complaint’? It doesn’t.”

But Snyder’s defense attorneys insist the prosecution team is missing the point.

“They have tried to make an argument that this is not literally an indictment,” argued Gaetan Gerville-Reache, one of Snyder’s defense lawyers. “If it looks like a duck, and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”

Circuit Court Judge F. Kay Behm says she will issue a decision on the request to dismiss the charges against the former governor.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Troy Kidd sat quietly in the back of the courtroom. His mother Debra died of Legionnaires Disease during the water crisis.

Kidd wants the focus to return to what happened to people in Flint and less on the legal wrangling.

“The people need to decide on this. A jury needs to see this,” said Kidd. “The jury is what’s needs to make the decision not these clerical issues...paperwork things.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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