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Monday, August 30, 2010

South Texas sheriff takes on state agency official in felony open records fight

A Nueces County skirmish over open records could land an Austin state agency official in prison for up to 10 years.

Or it could leave several Nueces County officials looking foolish.


Adan Muñoz Jr., executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, has been charged with two felony counts of misuse of official information — a crime that typically pertains to public servants who use insider government information to benefit themselves, friends or supporters.

Muñoz's alleged crime? In February, after Nueces County Jail inmate Samuel Salazar killed himself, Muñoz released the prisoner's jail screening form, which is designed to identify potentially suicidal prisoners. ...

The release angered Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin, who said the information should have been kept secret while his office and the Texas Rangers investigated the death.

Kaelin complained to Muñoz's bosses — the nine governor-appointed commissioners on the jail standards panel — but after they cleared Muñoz of wrongdoing, the sheriff pursued criminal charges.
Read more here.

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