A judge denied a motion to dismiss multiple car theft, drug
possession and evading charges against James Lee Mathews, 37,
over law enforcement's failure to preserve key evidence,
Superior Court Judge James Reilley also denied a related
defense motion to grant Mathews four separate jury trials.
Mathews' lawyer, Robert Radcliffe, argued it is unfair to
have a single jury weigh evidence from four separate arrests
of his client, dating back to March 2004.
Mathews, who claims he suffers from a cognitive mental
condition called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) is set to go to trial in all four cases starting on
However, one of two doctors appointed by the court to
determine whether he was legally sane at the time of the
alleged crimes, has recommended more extensive
neuro-psychological tests, including a brain scan, which would
delay the case several more months.
The defense attorney said he will contact the doctor before
deciding whether to seek additional public funds for such
tests at a pretrial hearing in the case next week.
At that time, the judge indicated he will also rule on two
writs brought by Mathews seeking dismissal of the charges
against him based on his claims he has not been allowed the
legal help someone with his disabilities requires to be able
to use the law library at the county jail.
In court, Tuesday the Chico inmate alleged an ongoing
pattern of harassment against him and charged some jailers
are "using my disability against me" by refusing him the
legal assistance he needs to bring those allegations in front
of the court.
Mathews has alleged in a $3 million federal civil rights
lawsuit against Butte County that a jailer broke one of his
hands in 2005 and allowed him to be assaulted by other inmates
when Mathews continued to protest the denial of his
At one point, Mathews' civil attorney had petitioned the
court unsuccessfully to have the Chico inmate transferred to
another jail or a locked medical facility for his safety.
During his three-year incarceration, Mathews was twice
committed to a state mental hospital, after being found to be
mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Doctors have now determined that he is capable of
understanding the court proceedings and assisting in his own