Plea Deal Avoids Fight Over Prosecutor, Judge Testifying

Jesse Mathews pleaded guilty on Friday afternoon to killing a Chattanooga police officer and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He also gave up all appeal rights. Mathews’s trial was to have begun on Jan. 23 with a Nashville jury. The plea deal also ends a defense lawsuit seeking to force the prosecutor to testify at the sentencing, as well as a possible fight over whether U.S. District Court Judge Sandy Mattice would be forced to testify. Mattice recently had denied the defense request under the federal Guide to Judiciary Policy, which prohibits federal judges from testifying in legal proceedings except in special situations. In addition, Mattice said that whatever testimony he could give was already in the public record; that sealed information could inadvertently come out; and that his testimony could reflect poorly upon his impartiality in future cases.