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State has “a lot to prove” to win convictions for involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis

bill schuette announcing charges
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Last Wednesday, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced five charges of involuntary manslaughter in the criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis.

The involuntary manslaughter charges announced last week against the head of Michigan's health department and four other former state and Flint city officials have made big headlines. Why? Because such charges are exceptionally rare.

Adam Candeub, a professor of law at Michigan State University, joined Stateside today to put the charges into context.

In regards to just how rare it is to see a sitting state department director charged with involuntary manslaughter, Candeub said he’s “not familiar with a similar charge, ever.”

“Certainly within Michigan precedent, this is very unusual,” he said.

Charged with involuntary manslaughter are State Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former DEQ water officials Liane Shekter-Smith and Stephen Busch, and Howard Croft, the former director of Public Works in Flint.

Listen above to learn what hurdles the state faces in its attempt to win these convictions. You’ll also hear why Candeub said this latest round of charges “raises a lot of interesting questions about the role of government.”

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