published Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Judge to rule on gag order in Jesse Mathews death penalty case

A local criminal court judge heard arguments today on a gag order in a high-profile death penalty case.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston and District Attorney Bill Cox requested the gag order in an Aug. 15 hearing in response to Times Free Press Metro columnist David Cook’s attempts to interview criminal defendant Jesse Mathews.

Mathews faces a Jan. 22, 2013 death penalty trial on charges that he killed Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin during a botched Brainerd Road robbery on April 2, 2011.

Times Free Press attorneys Andrew “Bud” Jackson and Max Bahner argued that the judge should lift the overly broad order, which they say violates constitutional rights of both Mathews and the newspaper.

The gag order, issued by Judge Barry Steelman, prevents police, court personnel and anyone involved in the trial, including Mathews, from speaking with the media about the case.

For more details see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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