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  1. #1

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    David Eugene Matthews - Kentucky Death Row


    Mary Marlene Cruse Matthews




    Facts of the Crime:

    Was sentenced to death on November 11, 1982 in Jefferson County for the murders of Mary Matthews and Magdalene Cruse on June 29, 1981 in Louisville. Mary Matthews was his estranged wife and Magdalene Cruse was his mother-in-law. In the process of committing these crimes he burglarized his wife’s home. He was tried and convicted on October 8, 1982.

  2. #2

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    March 18, 2009

    Federal judge upholds death sentence of long-serving Ky. inmate


    A federal judge has upheld the death sentence of Kentucky's 3rd-longest serving death row inmate saying a trial judge didn't err in interpreting the law and his lawyers were adequate.

    U.S. District Judge John Heyburn III reversed a recommendation by a magistrate judge and ruled that David Eugene Matthews isn't entitled to a new trial after 27 years.

    Matthews, 60, was sentenced to death Nov. 11, 1982 in Louisville for the murders of his wife, Mary "Marlene" Matthews, and mother-in-law, Magdalene Cruse, on June 29, 1981.

    U.S. Magistrate James Moyer's recommendation was based on a finding that the trial judge erred in handling Matthews' claim of "extreme emotional disturbance" at the time of the killings and that his attorneys failed to argue on appeal that jurors were not properly instructed about how to handle the defense.

    Heyburn, in a 19-page decision released Wednesday, said the law on extreme emotional distress is complex, but the trial judge made the right calls, as did the attorneys.

    Kentucky's law at the time Matthews went to trial required prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthews did not suffer from extreme emotional distress. Moyer found that prosecutors failed to put on any expert witnesses to rebut Matthews' claim, which should have prompted the trial judge to order Matthews acquitted on the murder charges, and the jury should have been instructed about what prosecutors had to prove.

    Heyburn, though, found enough evidence in the record to back the trial judge's decision.

    Heyburn noted that Matthews spent several hours in the house before finishing his "crime spree" and later discussions with his mother suggest he acted deliberately and had an understanding of what happened.

    "The method of committing this crime would suggest to reasonable jurors some quiet contemplation and thought on Matthews' part," Heyburn wrote.

    Heyburn added that the absence of extreme emotional distress "could be inferred from the careful steps that Matthews took to conceal his crimes during and after their commission."Heyburn upheld all of Moyer's other recommendations, rejecting a slew of arguments from Matthews.

    Kentucky has executed three men since 1976. The last person executed was Marco Allen Chapman by lethal injection in November. The state currently has 36 people on death row.


    (source: Associated Press)

  3. #3
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    On April 17, 2009, Matthews filed an appeal in the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals over the denial of his habeas petition in Federal District Court.

    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/cir...s/ca6/09-5464/

  4. #4
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    DAVID EUGENE MATTHEWS v. PHILIP PARKER, Warden, Kentucky State Penitentiary

    The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has AFFIRMED in part and REVERSED in part Matthew's appeal. The case has been remanded to the Kentucky Supreme Court for retrial.

  5. #5
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    Appeals court grants new trial to inmate on death row for 29 years, says judge erred at trial

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. A Kentucky inmate on death row for 29 years has been granted a new trial by a federal appeals court that found problems with the trial judge's legal interpretations and an argument made by prosecutors about a claim of extreme emotional distress at the time of two slayings.

    A split U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ordered 62-year-old David Eugene Matthews retried within 180 days in the death of his estranged wife Mary "Marlene" Matthews, and mother-in-law, Magdalene Cruse in Louisville, on June 29, 1981.

    Judge Eric Clay wrote that the trial judge misinterpreted Kentucky's law on an extreme emotional distress defense and allowed prosecutors to claim during closing arguments that Matthews and his attorneys concocted the issue in an attempt to avoid conviction.

    "The prosecutor's comments during closing arguments regarding (Matthews') supposed exaggeration of EED, and collusion with his attorney and doctor, were both improper and flagrant," Clay wrote.

    Clay, joined by judge Karen Nelson Moore, also ordered the state to determine if Matthews can legally be retried or must be released because the constitutional prohibition on being tried twice for the same crime applies in this case.

    Judge Eugene Siler Jr. dissented, saying the judge properly interpreted the law, and noted that prosecutors withdrew the offending statement at closing arguments.

    "First, the evidence against the defendant was strong, as counsel admitted that Matthews had killed the two victims," Siler wrote. "The evidence of whether Matthews was under the influence of EED at the time of the offense was not as compelling, but there was evidence that Matthews did not suffer from this impairment at the time of the killings."

    The ruling overturns a decision by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn III upholding Matthews' conviction and sentence.

    Kentucky's law at the time Matthews went to trial required prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthews did not suffer from extreme emotional distress if the defendant produced sufficient evidence of the disorder. Clay found that Matthews made his case on extreme emotional distress, but prosecutors "neither undermined nor contravened" the claim, leaving reasonable doubt in place.

    "The prosecution presented no evidence of its own regarding the EED element," Clay wrote.

    Kentucky has executed three men since 1976. The last person executed was Marco Allen Chapman by lethal injection in November. The state currently has 34 people on death row.

    http://www.therepublic.com/view/stor...ence-Matthews/

  6. #6
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    Given that it's really a two-to-two tie (counting the district court judge), this one seems ripe for a rehearing en banc.

  7. #7
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    Appeals ruling may have effect on more Ky. inmates

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. David Eugene Matthews may soon be released from Kentucky's death row after nearly three decades.

    And, if he is, the door he walks out of will be left ajar for two other condemned inmates.

    Kentucky prosecutors are asking the full U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a three-judge panel's decision to order a new trial for Matthews, 62, on burglary charges or release him.

    Assistant Attorney General Matthew Krygiel, in a motion for rehearing, said the ruling was flawed and could impact the federal appeals of two other inmates who have been fighting execution for multiple decades.

    A three-judge panel ruled that a judge misinterpreted Kentucky's law on extreme emotional disturbance and ordered Matthews retried or released. The panel also ruled that Matthews cannot be retried for the June 1981 murders of his estranged wife, Mary "Marlene" Matthews, and mother-in-law, Magdalene Cruse, in Louisville, because of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.

    Even if convicted of the remaining burglary charges, Matthews would likely be sentenced to time served, resulting in his release, Krygiel wrote.

    Krygiel wrote that inmates Randy Haight and Leif Halvorsen raised similar legal claims about extreme emotional disturbance to the ones Matthews used to win a new trial. Letting the Matthews decision stand could result in those inmates winning their federal appeals, Krygiel said.

    "First, this case has the potential to allow an obviously guilty double-murderer to be released," Krygiel wrote. "Matthews' guilt has never been in doubt."

    Krygiel wants the court to take an unusual step and rehear the case. Matthews remains on death row at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville while the court considers a rehearing. Messages left for Matthews' attorneys were not returned. They had not filed a response to Krygiel's rehearing request as of Wednesday.

    Kentucky's law at the time Matthews went to trial required prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Matthews did not suffer from extreme emotional disturbance if the defendant produced sufficient evidence of the disorder. Such a showing meant the defendant could be found guilty of first-degree manslaughter, not murder, unless prosecutors rebutted the claim.

    In Matthews' case, the three-judge panel in June found problems with the trial judge's legal interpretations and a prosecution argument that Matthews and his attorneys concocted the issue in an attempt to avoid a conviction. The federal court's ruling overturned decisions by the Kentucky Supreme Court interpreting the law.

    "The prosecution presented no evidence of its own regarding the EED element," Judge Eric Clay wrote.

    Haight, 59, condemned to death for the slayings of Patricia Vance and David Omer on Aug. 22, 1985 in Garrard County, and Halvorsen, 57, who was sentenced to death in 1983 in Fayette County for the participation in the murders of Jacqueline Greene, Joe Norman and Joey Durham, have raised similar claims in their federal appeals.

    It is unclear how many other cases could be affected by the decision, should it stand.

    Ernie Lewis, who retired as the head of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy in September 2008, said attorneys often used the extreme emotional disturbance defense in the 1980s because prosecutors had to prove it did not exist beyond a reasonable doubt.

    "I think the Matthews case is quite significant and will have a major impact on cases that were tried in the 80's or so," Lewis said.

    One of Haight's attorneys, public defender Bruce Hackett, declined to comment on the potential impact of the decision on his client, citing an ongoing appeal. As of Wednesday, Hackett had not filed any new briefs related to the Matthews decision.

    Public defender David Barron filed a motion in Halvorsen's federal appeal on Monday citing the Matthews case and asking a judge to dismiss the charges and conviction. Barron said Halvorsen's trial attorney misunderstood the law and didn't adequately investigate the extreme emotional disturbance claim. If the Matthews decision stands, it benefits Halvorsen, Barron said in the motion.

    "It should require Halvorsen's convictions to be vacated," Barron said.

    Kentucky has executed three men since 1976. The last person executed was Marco Allen Chapman by lethal injection in November 2008. The state currently has 34 people on death row.

    Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/08/10/1...#ixzz1UejyTEz3

  8. #8
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    Parker v. Matthews

    In today's United States Supreme Court opinions, the court GRANTED Warden Parker's petition for certiorari and REVERSED the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  9. #9
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    US Supreme Court reinstates Ky. death sentence

    The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated the death sentence of a Kentucky man who has been awaiting execution for three decades.

    The high court Monday overturned a U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that had granted a new trial to 63-year-old David Eugene Matthews. Matthews was sentenced to death in 1982 for the slaying of his estranged wife and mother-in-law in Louisville.

    Matthews is Kentucky's second-longest serving death row inmate. The state is currently in the process of altering its execution method to comply with a state judge's order.

    http://www.necn.com/06/11/12/US-Supr...d4865f08d6bfef
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  10. #10
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    The opinion is truly worth a read since it's a real smackdown against the Sixth Circuit. The US Supreme Court, Clinton and Obama appointees included, have unanimously opined that the Sixth Circuit had totally ignored AEDPA.

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