Michigan State Supreme Court dismisses charges against Rich Baird in Flint Water case

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Michigan Supreme Court dismissed the Flint water prosecutors’ “application for leave” to appeal. The Supreme Court’s ruling affirms Rich Baird’s claim that the one-man grand jury’s charges against him are unconstitutional. The ruling puts an end to the years-long court battle for the former aide to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Supreme Court published orders denying state prosecutors the last-chance opportunity to appeal the dismissal of Baird’s case, in addition to others charged in relation to the 2014 Flint Water Crisis, including Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and former MDHHS employee Nancy Peeler, stating:

“On order of the Court, the application for leave to appeal the March 1, 2023, order of the Court of Appeals is considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

“This finally puts an end to the case against my client, Mr. Baird, who worked tirelessly for the citizens of Flint in an effort to remediate the Flint Water Crisis,” said Randall Levine, Baird’s attorney and managing partner of Levine & Levine Attorneys At Law. “For the past three years, Mr. Baird has been unfairly disgraced by state prosecutors in an effort to rectify the government’s wrongdoing that was done to Flint citizens nearly a decade ago.”

Since 2020 when the initial charges were brought against Baird, detrimental effects include:

  • Baird having to spend more than $1.2M in legal fees on false accusations, which are not covered by the state.
  • Eradicating all of Baird’s achievements after leaving the private sector and devoting eight years to public service.
  • Devastating three years of Baird’s life due to the severe consequences, including electing to resign from numerous charitable boards to preserve the reputation and foundation of the boards, such as the finance chair of Eastern Michigan University Board of Trustees, which would have led him to becoming the board’s chair; Willow Run Center for Mobility; and the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation.

“We are elated with the Supreme Court’s orders that were issued today that ends this unjust prosecution against Mr. Baird,” said Levine. “We have maintained all along that there is no basis for the state prosecutor’s appeal, and the one-person grand jury that they used in an attempt to convict my client is an antiquated process. Mr. Baird can finally go on with his life without this case continuing to interfere with the stellar life that he has led and of which his family has been proud.”

In October 2022, prosecutors in the Flint water criminal matter appealed Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Kelly’s ruling, which was later affirmed by the State Supreme Court, that dismissed felony charges against seven state officials including Baird. Following the submittal of the state’s appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, attorneys at Levine & Levine Attorneys at Law, who represent Baird, filed motions to dismiss the appeal and affirm Kelly’s earlier ruling. On March 1, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on the motions filed on Baird’s behalf. The Court ruled to affirm Kelly’s ruling, but denied the motion to dismiss.

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