A district court judge dismissed a case against Steven Pogline "with prejudice" Wednesday, meaning that prosecutors won't be able to refile the charges against him.
Pogline, 30, was facing four felony charges in connection with the theft of several firearms from a Craig residence April 9. But a key witness refused to testify, assistant District Attorney Amy Fitch said Friday.
Pogline, 30, and his older brother, James Pogline, 32, are both in the Moffat County Jail awaiting court dates on several charges. The brothers are co-defendants in a single case stemming from the alleged drugging of a woman. The case against Steven Pogline that was dismissed Wednesday was unrelated to the alleged drugging incident. The brothers face other charges from separate incidents.
Steven Pogline's court-appointed lawyer, Sheryl Uhlmann, filed a motion seeking a dismissal of the case because Steven Pogline did not get a preliminary hearing within 30 days of being charged with the crimes.
She also filed a motion to recuse County Judge Mary Lynne James from presiding over the case. Uhlmann's motion alleges that the judge made inappropriate contact with a witness in the case.
Judge James, who agreed to step down from the case last month, did not return a message Friday.
Fitch said a judge's recusal is not uncommon.
"Often (a judge) knows someone from the community," Fitch said. "The whole purpose of a recusal is to avoid the thinking that people may have that the justice system is not fair."
As a county judge, James is responsible for many preliminary hearings and determining if the charges should be bound over to district court. The remainder of cases against Steven Pogline will be heard by 14th Judicial District Court Judge Paul McLimans.
Steven Pogline's mother, Jodi Pogline, said is filing Uhlmann's motion for recusal with the Judicial Discipline Committee, a state body that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.
"This is not just happening to our sons -- it's happening to other peoples' sons in the community and this is not the way to carry out justice," she said.
As of Friday, some cases against Steven and James Pogline have been updated as follows:
A charge of possession of intent to sell or distribute a controlled substance has been dismissed in an April 24, 2004, case that alleges James Pogline intended to sell and distribute methamphetamine. Pending charges in that case include two violations of conditions of bail bonds and a possession of a gram or less of methamphetamine. A motions hearing has been set for Aug. 30 and jury trial is Nov. 1.
A charge of possession of alcohol as a violation of a bail bond has been dismissed in a February 28, 2004, case that alleges James Pogline applied physical force to a peace officer. Pending charges include second-degree assault in the custody of a peace officer, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and violation of a bail bond for criminal mischief. A motions hearing has been set for Aug. 30 and a jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 23.
An April 20, 2004 case that alleges James and Steven Pogline "forcibly" drugged a victim has been bound over for trial. A motions hearing is Aug. 4.
A December 23, 2003 case that alleges James Pogline damaged personal property is scheduled for trial Nov. 1.
A Sept. 2, 2003, case that included one count has been dropped against Steven Pogline that alleges he violated the conditions of a bail bond by committing first-degree burglary.
A motion was filed to dismiss without prejudice an Oct. 16, 2003, case that charges Steven Pogline with menacing and assault.
A burglary charge has been dismissed in a July 20, 2003, case that alleges Steven Pogline assaulted a man. Pending charges include menacing. Arraignment is set for Aug. 4.