Judge Mattice Declines To Testify At Mathews Sentencing Hearing

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Federal Judge Sandy Mattice has told attorneys for the man charged with killing Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin that he is turning down their request to testify at a sentencing phase of the trial.

In a four-page hand-delivered letter to attorneys Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss, Judge Mattice said he carefully considered the request and said he is "keenly aware of the potential consequences your client faces in his state criminal proceedings." The state is seeking the death penalty for Jesse Mathews.

The judge also said, "I am profoundly aware that no one is above the law and that each individual has a personal responsibility to participate in the legal process so as to advance the cause of justice."

But he said, "Unfortunately, I cannot accede to your request."

He said under the federal Guide to Judiciary Policy, federal judges may not provide testimony in legal proceedings except as otherwise authorized by the regulations.

Judge Mattice said a number of factors in the policy weigh against him testifying in the Mathews case.

He said information about how the mother of Mathews, Katherine Mathews, may have affected him for evil is available in public transcripts.

The defense wants to cite evidence that Ms. Mathews was a controlling influence over her son and was involved in his criminal activity.

Judge Mattice said during his testimony that certain information that was sealed in the federal proceedings against Ms. Mathews might "inadvertently" come out.

He also said, "Moreover, I am concerned that my testimony could be perceived as expressing a personal position as to the propriety of any sentence that your client may face. Simply put, direct testimony from a federal district court judge in a state death penalty case could reflect poorly upon my impartiality in future criminal cases, or upon the impartiality of the federal judiciary in general."

He asked the attorneys that he be notified "as to whether you intend to pursue contempt proceedings or seek to institute enforcement of the subpoena in state court."

The defense is also seeking to have federal prosecutor Steve Neff testify in the Mathews sentencing. He has also declined.

The defense filed suit in federal court seeking to require the prosecutor to testify. Judge Mattice was assigned that case, but he has recused himself.

 

    

 


Neighbors Throw Rock Through Window To Wake Up Man Sleeping At Apartment Fire

An apartment fire late Monday night resulted in one man being sent to the hospital after he was alerted by neighbors. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 9:38 p.m. and responded to Rainbow Creek Apartments at 7604 Standifer Gap Road with six fire companies. Details are still sketchy on what happened initially, but Captain Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation ... (click for more)

Bell Gets 8-Year Sentence For Attempted Child Rape

A Brainerd man was given an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to attempted rape of a child. A charge of child rape was dismissed. Meredith Coy Bell, 35, appeared before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman. In the incident in 2010, police said a female told them she walked into a bedroom and saw Bell holding down her step-sister while attempting to have sex with ... (click for more)

Vote To Retain Supreme Court Justices

On Aug. 7 or by voting early by Aug. 2, voters will choose to "retain" or "replace" Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade. If retained, they will serve for another eight years.  The retention election is a way to retain judges who make decisions based on the law and facts -or remove judges who are incompetent. Tennessee's Judicial Performance ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Judge Philyaw Is The Best

Tomorrow morning there will be a special gathering at the Hamilton County Juvenile Court that will prove to our community that we have perhaps the most innovative juvenile judge in America. Shortly after Rob Philyaw was hand-picked by our Hamilton County Commissioners to fill the remainder of Suzanne Bailey’s term 15 months ago, he found that truancy was a big problem in our schools. ... (click for more)

Vols Open 2018 Season Against West Virginia In Charlotte

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced Tuesday that the Tennessee Volunteers will open the 2018 season on September 1 against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. All information related to kickoff date, time and tickets will be announced at ... (click for more)

Local Swimmers Excel At Georgia, Tennessee State Meets

Several Chattanooga-area swimmers had successful weekends in various meets this past weekend. The McCallie/GPS Aquatics team finished sixth out of 50 teams at the Southeastern Swimming Championship in Knoxville while swimmers from Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold also had memorable performances at the Georgia State Meet, also held last weekend. The McCallie/GPS team recorded ... (click for more)