The news is reporting that Matthew Cordle has pleaded “Not Guilty.” This is factually accurate; I was in the courtroom when it happened. You may be wondering about because I said I would‘s position on this matter. I mean, he decided to go DIRECTLY against his promise, right? Wrong. Because I said I would still supports Matthew and the reason WILL surprise you…
When Matthew’s lawyers told me that he was going to plead “Not Guilty,” outrage over took me in a way that I cannot even express in words. They assured me that this “Not Guilty” plea was just a formality and they had to do it. I did not believe them for a second. I assumed that Matt came to some realization and feared the sentencing he faced. It seemed obvious that these lawyers were just trying to do some damage control because they needed me on their side.
But the fact is, I know almost nothing about the law. Before shaming Matt for being a liar, I wanted to make certain that I understood the situation. I called the Assistant County Prosecutor that is working Matt’s case, Keith McGrath. This guy’s job is to put Matt away for the MAXIMUM sentence. I asked him to explain to me this so-called legal procedure that forced Matt to plead “Not Guilty” today. The answer was odd but insanely relieving.
In the State of Ohio there are rules that prevent people from “judge shopping”; this means that you can’t just wait for the week your favorite or most lenient judge “happens” to be working. Since Franklin County has 17 judges that handle felonies, you need to have random judge assignment to make sure people don’t game the system. Matt pleaded “Not Guilty” today because he needed to get a random judge to maintain the integrity of his sentencing. Mr. McGrath told me on the phone that “It’s just how our court system works, you have to plead ‘Not Guilty’ to get that random judge, then plead guilty.” He said “…Matt has no choice on how the court process works.” I asked Mr. McGrath if Matt is still on the course to take full responsibility for his actions, he said “Yes.”
Some may ask “Well then why did the judge blow up in court the other day?” From what I hear, Matt’s attorneys may have messed up and didn’t clearly understand the rules above until it was too late. I think the judge was annoyed that everybody’s time was wasted. She probably would have taken the case, but the selection process could have been questioned it the future.
Matt received a randomly assigned judge today and he will plead GUILTY on September 18th. At this very moment, Matt has the ability and the means to get out on bail. Instead, he is sitting in jail and taking responsibility because he said he would. Matt, I know you can’t read this but I am so sorry for doubting you. Don’t give up the ship.
Watch the confession video here: