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Flint, MI– The judge in the case against Former Gov. Richard Snyder decided to temporarily stop judicial proceedings as requested by Snyder’s defense.
On Jan. 13, Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty for his involvement in the Flint water crisis. The counts are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Two weeks later, Snyder’s attorney, Brian Lennon, made a motion for the judge to “quash,” or dismiss, the case for being filed in the “improper venue.” Lennon argued that the charges should be made in Lansing, where Snyder’s office was, rather than in Flint.
On March 18, 67th District Court Judge William Crawford II denied Lennon’s motion to dismiss the case, and Lennon said he would be appealing the judge’s ruling.
Until a decision is made regarding the appeal, Madelaine Lane of Warner Norcross and Judd, on behalf of Snyder, requested Crawford grant a “stay”, or temporarily stop proceedings of the case.
On March 30, Crawford heard from Lane, and Assistant Attorney General Bryant Osikowicz on behalf of the people, before deciding to grant the stay.
“…It would be, we believe, a waste of this court’s time and resources, and taxpayer resources, to continue litigating a matter which ultimately may be dismissed,” Lane said.
Lane also argued that that since the water crisis has gone on for more than six years already, the government can “certainly wait a few more months.”
“The idea that the people of the state of Michigan are being denied justice, because of Governor Snyder’s request today is simply not true,” Lane said. “This is an important case to both sides, and I think there is good cause to slow down and get this right.”
Osikowicz said the people believed a stay would be premature, but would respect the decision to grant one if the defense really felt it was necessary .
“This really shouldn’t be that contentious of an issue,” Osikowicz said.
Crawford said he did have concerns about prolonging the case any longer.
“I mean…we’ve been here for January, February, March, almost April, two and a half months, two months, then this adjournment could be for three or four months…before we really get started, so I do have some concerns about that,” Crawford said.
But he decided to grant the stay with the understanding that the discovery process, or the exchange of information and evidence between parties, would not be halted. There will just be a temporary hold on judicial proceedings, and any court deadlines.