Friday, September 27, 2013

Matthew Cordle changes plea to guilty

A few weeks ago I blogged about Matthew Cordle and how there was this outcry from the public because he did not initially plead guilty to vehicular homicide at his arraignment.  

In case you're not familiar with who this guy is or you didn't read my blog.  Basically he was involved in a hit and run.  He posted a confession on YouTube and said he was going to turn himself and and plead guilty as soon as possible.  However at his first hearing, the arraignment, he entered a not guilty plea.  And the media, the general public, and even the Judge were upset and seemed to imply that he went back on his word.

Well I posted that nobody enters a guilty plea at the arraignment.  To suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.  Heck even Judges are reluctant to take a guilty plea on a theft of a candy bar at an arraignment let along a charge as serious as vehicular homicide.  A defendant gives up basically all their constitutional trial and appellate rights.  So it is kind of a big deal and to me it was no surprise his initial plea was one of not guilty.

However last week Matthew Cordle changed his plea from not guilty to one of guilty.  According to the Prosecutor he faces a maximum penalty of up to 8 1/2 years for the vehicular homicide charge.  His sentencing is set for the middle of October.

In case you're not familiar with my blog, I'm a DUI lawyer in Seattle.  So I see people all the time charged with these types of offenses.  Alcohol related offenses, mostly DUI cases.  Most people I see in Court (not my clients of course) they are only looking for one thing.  How to get out of this mess they got themselves into.  

Heck I remember I met with a prospective client once and that was the first thing she asked.  How I was going to get her off.  So it is very surprising when someone in such a public manner just pleads guilty as charged and really takes all the responsibility for their actions.  

I know what this guy did was horrible and somebody lost their life because of a poor decision he made.  But hey you have to hand it to him.  He confessed, he turned himself in, and he followed through with his promise to plead guilty.  To me that shows a lot of character and I respect his decision.  Now don't get me wrong I realize somebody lost their life, but I'm simply saying Mr. Cordle showed a lot of accountability by doing what he believed was right, and I think even the most ardent anti-DUI crusader would agree.  I certainly do. 

About the author: Matthew Leyba is the owner of Leyba Defense PLLC.  A DUI Law Firm located in the Seattle Bellevue area of Western Washington.  He focuses on representing those charged with DUI and other traffic offenses.  He has been named a Rising Star in the field of DUI Defense by Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive, and he is also rated a Top DUI Attorney by Avvo.   

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