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June 18, 2021
LANSING-A Genesee County circuit court judge and a Michigan Court of Appeals judge this week have denied motions for preliminary examination and immediate appellate review filed by defendants charged in the Flint Water Crisis prosecution.
On Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth A. Kelly of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court denied motions to remand for a preliminary examination filed by defendants Jarrod Agen, Gerald Ambrose, Richard Baird, Darnell Earley, and Nancy Peeler - all are facing criminal charges in connection with the Flint Water Crisis.
In her order, Judge Kelley states, "Defendants try to complicate an issue that, in essence, is straightforward: whether Defendants are entitled to preliminary examinations after being indicted by a one-person grand jury. They are not."
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Kelley went on to summarize the reasons why the defendants are not entitled to a preliminary examination which include:
- one-person grand juries issue indictments after making a finding of probable cause;
- indictees are not entitled to a preliminary examination after such a finding;
- one-person grand jury indictments and citizens' grand jury indictments are equal in the eyes of the law; and
- the one person grand jury system does not violate due process.
In a second order issued by Michigan Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Mark J. Cavanagh on Wednesday, he denied a motion for leave to appeal filed by Eden Wells, who is also facing criminal charges in connection with the Flint Water Crisis. Judge Cavanagh cited a failure to persuade the court of the need for an immediate appellate review as the reason for his denial.
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"Despite continued attempts by the defendants to delay these cases, we won multiple rulings this week affirming our team's work to bring these cases to trial," said Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud. "These victories are important steps forward to deliver justice for the people of Flint."
In January, a grand jury issued a total of 41 indictments against nine individuals as part of the investigation into the Flint Water Crisis.
Click here to view a copy of Judge Kelley's ruling.
Click here to view a copy of Judge Cavanagh's ruling.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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