Judge Dismisses Charges Against State Jail Official

A judge in Nueces County today dismissed a criminal indictment against Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director Adan Muñoz.

Last month, the Nueces County District Attorney charged Muñoz with two counts of misusing official information. The indictment alleged that Muñoz used his office to illegally release to local reporters confidential information about a suicide in the Nueces County Jail. Release of the information incensed Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin, who told local reporters that the case was still under investigation and that the documents were not Muñoz's to release.

Open government advocates called the indictment outrageous, and others said the charges were simply retaliation by Kaelin against Muñoz because the jail standards commission gave the Nueces County Jail — which Kaelin runs — failing grades on state inspections.

Muñoz's attorney, Rene Rodriguez, said the judge dismissed the case because it was unclear whom Muñoz had harmed or defrauded by releasing the information.

"The only way that he becomes subject to any type of criminal action is if they make another presentation to the grand jury and the grand jury comes back and indicts him," Rodriguez said. He said it was unclear whether the district attorney planned to file charges again. "I don’t know what [Kaelin is] going to come up with next, but I don’t think that the DA is going to allow him to try to push this through."

Click here to read the Corpus Christi Caller-Times report on the courtroom action.

 

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