Flint, MI – The jury trial for the City of Flint vs. Flint City Councilman Eric Mays was postponed to Feb. 9, 2023, because the court could not secure six jurors to preside over the case’s Jan. 12 hearing.

The city is suing Mays for disorderly conduct at a Flint City Council meeting on April 25, 2022. Mays refused to leave the meeting after being ruled out of order twice, resulting in his being escorted out by Flint Police Department officers in handcuffs.

Under Michigan law, disorderly conduct and disorderly persons is a misdemeanor offense punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a $500 fine.

The City of Flint is being represented by attorney Michael Gildner, while Mays chose to represent himself during the proceedings. District Court Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley is presiding over the case.

During the hearing on Jan. 12, both sides framed the lawsuit differently to Judge Bayeh-Haley and the potential jurors. Gildner argued that the issue at hand was Mays ignoring the Council rules, while Mays claimed that the meeting rules were being applied unequally in a way that discriminated against him.

Twelve people were called to appear in court on Jan. 12 for jury selection, but only nine heeded the summons. Four of these potential jurors were excused after claiming that they could not afford to take two to three days of vacation from work or claimed bias from watching prior news coverage of Mays being removed from the meeting.

Bayeh-Haley explained to the prosecution and the defense that the court could not call any of the potential jurors to appear in court again a month later, so they will need to restart the jury selection process and summon another 12 Genesee County residents to the Feb. 9 trial.

Bayeh-Haley also said that the witnesses subpoenaed in this case—including Mays’ eight fellow councilmembers, city clerk Davina Donahue, former council secretary Janell Johnson, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and chief of police Terence Green—will be required to appear again on Feb. 9.

Zachary Marano

Zachary Marano is Flint Beat’s local government reporter. Zack is originally from Milford township and returns to southeast Michigan after reporting for a daily newspaper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula....

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1 Comment

  1. 1st Ward Councilman is going to lose. One must admire his will to serve the people, but he’s not doing well. Self representation will not go well. He is also arguing that he was removed illegally from being council President, but the issue he has is that’s an internal leadership position not elected by the people. Hopefully the City sues him again to recoup money lost.

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