Possible Flaws in Legal System

Potential flaws in the legal system may be putting you in harm. Ross Muehlberger fell through the cracks in the system and ended up free on multiple reduced bonds on the night of the Shooting Rampage in the Falls.

Muehlberger's initial felony charge stems from an incident that happened Nov. 18, 2007. That case went before 89th District Court Judge Mark Price. Judge Price should have seen Muehlberger on all criminal matters from that point on.

But, Judge Barney Fudge, of the 78th District Court, signed off on Muehlberger's early termination of community supervision. Judge price said he should have made that decision.

Future County Court at Law #2 Judge Greg King represented Muehlberger at the time. He said Muehlberger had a favorable probation report and the District Attorney's office had no objections to the motion. He said, when he went to find Judge Price to sign the order, he was unable to locate him. Judge Fudge was the first judge he found. So, Judge Fudge signed the order.

Judge Price said he thinks he should have also been the one to oversee Muehlberger's bond reduction hearings. At that time, Jim Ammons represented Muehlberger. Ammons filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus instead of a motion to reduce bond. The writ is a civil matter, not criminal, so legally the hearings didn't have to go before Judge Price. And, the decision on that can be appealed, a motion to reduce bond can't, so it was a better move for Ammons to represent his client.

But, Ammons could have indicated a court of continuing, meaning his client had been seen in one district and should continue to go before that judge, when he filed the writ. He didn't. Calls to Ammons' office have not been returned.

While it seems the intent of the system failed, allowing Muehlberger to have several different felony charge procedures seen by different judges, nothing unprecedented happened.