Prosecutors lose again in bid to revive Flint water charges
DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors again lost a key decision Wednesday in another effort to revive charges against Michigan’s former health chief who was accused of negligence in certain deaths linked to the Flint water crisis.
The state appeals court said a Flint-area judge followed an “explicit directive” from the Michigan Supreme Court to dismiss an indictment against Nick Lyon.
“This court is unable to grant any relief,” a three-judge panel said in a terse order.
The Supreme Court in June said indictments returned by a one-judge grand jury in Genesee County were invalid. Nine people were charged, including former Gov. Rick Snyder, who was facing two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty.
“Mr. Lyon and his family are heartened by the dismissal of the prosecution’s appeal, as it demonstrates how our system of justice is to work,” defense attorney Chip Chamberlain said.
State-appointed managers switched Flint’s water source to the Flint River in 2014, but the water wasn’t treated to reduce its disastrous impact on old pipes. As a result, lead contaminated the system for 18 months.
Lyon, who was head of the state health department, had no role in the water switch. But the river was blamed for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which is typically caused by bacteria spreading through cooling systems.
Lyon and former chief medical executive Eden Wells were charged with involuntary manslaughter in nine deaths. They were accused of failing to timely warn the Flint area about the outbreak.
There was no immediate comment from the attorney general’s office about the latest decision in Lyon’s case.
Snyder’s charges were dismissed two weeks ago by a Genesee County judge.
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