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Former state epidemiologist sentenced in Flint water crisis criminal probe

Mar 13, 2017

A former state health department official has been sentenced for her role in the Flint water crisis.

Monday, retired state epidemiologist Corrine Miller was sentenced to 12 months probation and 300 hours of community service.  She will also have to pay a fine of more than a thousand dollars. 

Miller was allegedly aware of dozens of cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area around the same time the city changed its water source to the Flint River, but she didn't report it to the general public.  Between 2014 and 2015, a dozen people in the Genesee County area died of the pneumonia-like illness.  Another 90 fell seriously ill. 

Miller pleaded “no contest’ to a misdemeanor charge as part of a plea deal that has her cooperating with prosecutors.   

Special Counsel Todd Flood defends the lack of prison time for the former state Health Department employee.

“She came in first and cooperated,” says Flood. “That was a very big part of the disposition of the case. When you have a case this big, with a lot of different players trying to jump on a band wagon, she was the one with the courage to step up and face the music first.”

Miller is one of two former government workers who’ve agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for lesser punishments.  

There was one sticking point in Miller’s sentencing. 

Defense Attorney Kristen Guinn objected to part of the sentence that requires Miller to write an apology to the city of Flint, since Miller still faces civil lawsuits. 

“It will put Ms. Miller in a precarious position in terms of her potential civil liability and was not the purpose of the entry of the no contest plea,” says Guinn.

In all, 13 current and former state and city employees have been criminally charged in the Flint water crisis.