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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Jan 5, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Michigan's new attorney general seeks review of Flint cases

LANSING (AP) — A Detroit-area prosecutor will review a criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis and decide whether to take over the cases, Michigan's new attorney general announced Friday.

During her run for office, Attorney General Dana Nessel criticized the cost and scope of the investigation, which so far has led only to misdemeanor convictions for some state and local officials. Two people who were senior members of then-Gov. Rick Snyder's administration have been ordered to trial on involuntary manslaughter charges related to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Nessel said she asked Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to look at the files.

"There is no one whose opinion I value more when it comes to the complexity and importance of these cases," said Nessel, a former Wayne County assistant prosecutor.

Flint's water was contaminated with lead, which leached from old plumbing and fixtures. The city, while under state financial management, began using the Flint River in 2014 but failed to treat it properly to reduce corrosion. Some experts believe the water also caused a Legionnaires' outbreak in 2014-15.

The criminal investigation has been led by special prosecutor Todd Flood, who was appointed in 2016 by then-Attorney General Bill Schuette. The Democratic Nessel accused Schuette, a Republican, of using the Flint water crisis for political gain during his unsuccessful run for governor.

Girl, 6, rescued after posting photos of dead father online

MOUNT MORRIS TWP. (AP) — Authorities in Genesee County say a 6-year-old girl has been rescued from a home after posting photos on social media of her dead father and unconscious stepmother.

Police in Mount Morris Township, just north of Flint, said a relative in Tennessee contacted them after seeing the pictures.

Officers went to the home Thursday evening and found the man's body. The woman was taken to a hospital and authorities said she's listed in intensive care.

Township Police Chief Terence Green said the adults appear to have overdosed on drugs. He credits the girl, now with her mother, for being resourceful and saving a life during a traumatic event.

Child porn leader dies after fight at Michigan detention center

MILAN (AP) — A New York man sentenced to 40 years in prison as the leader of a child pornography ring died after a fight involving seven inmates at a federal detention center in Michigan, authorities said Friday.

Christian Maire was involved in an "altercation" Wednesday at the Milan detention center, about 50 miles southwest of Detroit, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said.

No details of the fight were released. But the government said Maire's death was being investigated as a homicide. He was from Binghamton, New York.

Three other inmates had serious injuries and two staff members had minor injuries.

Men are housed at the center while awaiting trial, sentencing or a permanent prison assignment after being sentenced in federal court. It's on the grounds of the low-security Milan federal prison.

Maire, 40, was sentenced a month ago in U.S. District Court in Detroit after pleading guilty to a child exploitation enterprise. Prosecutors said he was the "mastermind" of an "egregious crime syndicate" that coerced vulnerable girls to engage in sexual activity on a website.

Michigan seeks to fill 700 corrections officer positions

LANSING (AP) — Michigan is looking to fill about 700 vacant corrections officer positions at its prisons.

Department of Corrections Spokesman Chris Gautz told the Detroit Free Press that the department has been losing about 50 officers a month over the past few years.

Gautz said that's largely due to a spike in retirements of people who joined the department three decades ago when the state had a prison building boom amid tough-on-crime attitudes of the 1980s. He said promotions and turnover also are factors in the corrections officer vacancies.

The newspaper said the department employs about 13,000 people and historically averaged about 400-500 vacancies at a time.

To draw applicants, the department has beefed up its recruitment efforts and loosened an eligibility requirement for corrections officers tied to college credit.

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