Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | APRIL 16, 2009 7:34 AM

Judge rules against delay, new counsel in Matthews case

A judge denied Micah Matthews’ plea to delay his sentencing date and refused to provide him new legal representation.

Matthews, 33, has sent a series of letters contesting his February conviction. 6th Judicial District Judge Douglas Russell found him guilty of first- and second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary. The burglary conviction includes a first-degree sexual-abuse charge.

Testimony in the four-day, non-jury trial described his actions on June 5, 2007. He entered a house on Jema Court in Iowa City, forcing its resident at gunpoint to drive to an ATM. She was unable to withdraw the $500 he demanded. Back at her home, he beat and sexually assaulted her.

The kidnapping conviction is a Class A felony, which carries a mandatory life sentence in prison. Second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary are Class B felonies, each punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Matthews contended that his attorneys, Davis Foster and Paul Miller, misrepresented him and has since filed several motions without their counsel. Matthews refused to pay restitution to the victim and asked for new legal representation.

His sentencing is scheduled for Friday. The judge was supposed to respond to Matthews’ requests at that time, but he decided Wednesday he would not delay judgment or find a new attorney for Matthews.

— by Zhi Xiong

Executive Council chooses officers

The Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students elected officials for next year’s administration on Wednesday.

Eric Kaiser was elected Executive Council president. A graduate research assistant in the UI Carver College of Medicine, he previously served as the group’s administrative officer. He was not present at the meeting, but after he was elected, current Executive Council President Steve Wieland told the delegates they made a “good choice.”

Next year’s vice president will be Mosah Fernandez-Goodman, a student in the College of Law. Fernandez-Goodman said he hopes to use his professional fundraising experience to help raise money for the organization — which seemed to be a deciding factor among delegates.

Timothy Paschkewitz was elected to be the group’s budget director/graduate and professional allocations committee head, Justin Randall as the executive officer, Jia Chen as public-relations officer, and Kingsley Botchway for philanthropy director.

Although the philanthropy director’s role was a bit “unclear,” Wieland said, he proposed a group — to be chaired by Botchway — to allocate grants and awards for graduate, professional, and possibly undergraduate students working on public-service projects.

— by Chris Clark

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