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Archive for Tuesday, October 18, 2011

3-judge panel in Lawrence hears appeal of Matthew Jaeger, who was convicted in 2009 of kidnapping and mutilating his ex-girlfriend

October 18, 2011

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Matthew Jaeger: Guilty Verdict

More coverage of the trial of a former Kansas University student accused of beating and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend.

Members of a Kansas Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday focused on whether they had the authority to overturn a conviction in a Douglas County kidnapping and battery case.

In 2009, a Douglas County jury convicted Matthew Jaeger, now 26, of kidnapping, aggravated battery and making a criminal threat in a case filed after his former girlfriend was beaten at her Lawrence apartment. Prosecutors said Jaeger, a former Kansas University student who is originally from suburban Chicago, burst into Francie Biggs’ apartment in October 2007, choking her and causing injuries to her vaginal area. According to testimony at the trial, Biggs was with another man, Dylan Jones, that night. Jaeger also was convicted of threatening Jones.

“If a jury makes a decision and that decision is never to be questioned, then there would be no need to have an appellate court,” Jaeger’s defense attorney, Pedro Irigonegaray, argued. “What we’re suggesting is the jury did have authority to make those decisions, but the decision that they made in this case is unreasonable based upon the evidence that they had to reach that decision. The circumstantial evidence just did not support it.”

But Andrew Bauch, an assistant Kansas attorney general, said Irigonegaray was asking the appellate judges to take on the role of trial judges instead of make legal rulings on the appeal.

“The court’s well aware that you are not allowed to do that,” Bauch said. “That’s what the jury did in this case. The jury got to decide the credibility and weight to give any witnesses.”

The arguments in Jaeger’s case and others before the three-judge panel — G. Gordon Atcheson, Karen Arnold-Burger and David Bruns — were held in the old courtroom that is now the Douglas County Commission’s meeting room on the second floor of the courthouse, 1100 Mass. The judges met in Lawrence as part of an effort by the court to conduct hearings outside Topeka.

Jaeger is serving a nine-year prison sentence and is currently an inmate at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility. He was not at Tuesday’s hearing, but his parents, Jerry and Ann Jaeger, watched from the spectator’s section. Biggs also sat through the hearing.

Irigonegaray, who was Jaeger’s trial counsel, has argued there’s evidence that Biggs fell onto a bed rail, which caused her injury. He said expert witnesses for the defense who analyzed Lawrence police evidence from the crime scene made that determination.

“Isn’t it within the province of the jury to say this expert is not reasonable and we don’t have to believe them?” Atcheson interjected at one point. “It’s bought and paid for, so we don’t think this adds up here?”

But Irigonegaray argued the appellate court could determine that the circumstantial evidence prosecutors used added up to an unreasonable conclusion by the jury that Jaeger was guilty.

During Bauch’s presentation to the court, the judges also questioned whether Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild acted correctly in dismissing one juror, Shaun Edmondson, and replacing him with an alternate juror during deliberations.

Edmondson admitted he re-enacted the scenario of the victim in the case falling onto a bed rail.

The defense has argued the remaining 11 jurors only told officials that Edmondson had conducted his experiment after they believed they would be deadlocked. Edmondson was in favor of acquittal. But Irigonegaray said Edmondson brought up his experiment at the start of deliberations and the other jurors chose to disregard it, which was correct.

Biggs, who no longer lives in Lawrence, said she was pleased with how Tuesday morning’s hearing went and that she wanted Jaeger to serve his full sentence. She also said she hoped the case brought more attention to domestic violence and would urge other victims to come forward.

“I just hope that it can influence anybody else to do the same thing for themselves,” she said.

The judges took the case under advisement and will rule later, Atcheson said. If they don’t grant him a new trial, Jaeger could ask the Kansas Supreme Court to hear the case.

Comments

justanotherface 2 years, 6 months ago

Someone needs to take a bed rail to this guy's penis. Hopefully the inmates in Ellsworth are using him as their punk.

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jaywalker 2 years, 6 months ago

Pace, mrbig, skinny, bootlegger = Amen!

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cheeseburger 2 years, 6 months ago

ebyrd - I've said it before, but I really appreciate your insight and presentation regarding legal matters that appear here. You seem quite knowledgable and level-headed, and both are appreciated.

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skinny 2 years, 6 months ago

Matthew Jaeger should have gotten 40 years in prison for what all he did to that young lady!

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bootlegger 2 years, 6 months ago

Just hang em..........him............

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Jersey_Girl 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm impressed with Ms. Biggs for sitting through all this and being there for this as well. She is a strong woman. And I agree that the Jaeger parents should donate some money to some domestic violence cause, although I doubt they will since it would show that they think their little darling really did it.

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geekin_topekan 2 years, 6 months ago

There was a note on the local taxi cab's bulletin board that same year that read; "M. Jaeger is barred-violence/threats toward driver"

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 6 months ago

Biggs, who no longer lives in Lawrence, said she was pleased with how Tuesday morning’s hearing went and that she wanted Jaeger to serve his full sentence. She also said she hoped the case brought more attention to domestic violence and would urge other victims to come forward. “I just hope that it can influence anybody else to do the same thing for themselves,” she said. The judges took the case under advisement and will rule later, Atcheson said. If they don’t grant him a new trial, Jaeger could ask the Kansas Supreme Court

---I am so sorry that Ms. Biggs had to even sit through this. I sincerely hope that she's gotten lots of support, therapy physical and mental.

I hope she doesn't hurt anymore most of all.

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bearded_gnome 2 years, 6 months ago

first, I want to say that for just once I agree with Pace here!

Moot and LG40 apparently live in another twisted dimension.
Moot: they were clearly not heading to the hospital. they passed at least two signs pointing in the opposite direction. heading the wrong way on 6th.
of course she didn't know how she got the injuries, FGS! she'd just suffered serious physical trauma there and in choking.
Moot, please go soak your head!

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moot 2 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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demonfury 2 years, 6 months ago

I can't believe that the family and the high power lawyer don't comprehend that this appeals process (in it's entirety) will likely consume the majority of his sentence anyway. So all you've done is waste a truckload of $$$ trying to free a man who's gonna be free anyway when it's all said and done. He's already done over 2 years of the nine, and with good behavior, he'll be out in about 2.5 more. The Kansas Judicial system can easily tie this up until then. This guy's not getting a new trial. Fiscally, which usually trumps legality, it would be in the state's best interest to delay this rather than re-try it. I'm guessing that's what will happen here.

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irvan moore 2 years, 6 months ago

do any of the rest of you remember when pedro was peter in the early 70s?

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bd 2 years, 6 months ago

Pedro the spotlight monger!

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NY152 2 years, 6 months ago

LawrenceGuy I think you have lost your mind!!!!! This low life needs to spend many years in Jail.

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somebodynew 2 years, 6 months ago

LG40 - No one could ever accuse me of agreeing with you and they certainly won't in this case. You must have mixed your meds up today... Lawrence is a place that discriminates against rich in the Justice System ???? OK, what planet are you really from ??? I think it is pretty well established that if you are able to hire your own very good attorney (s) you have a much better chance of getting off or reduced plea bargains.

And I really, really don't see the stretch you made to the Pres. But then I don't see a lot of things that you see.

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somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

"But Matt had no more choice in his adoptive parents wealth than he had in being born white."

That is the only statement you wrote that is correct. He did have a choice to not bludgeon that poor girl's face and vagina (thank god the police stopped him while they were driving before him and his friend could kill and dump her) but I bet you think she deserved it though

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 6 months ago

If the options are shoot him or hang him, I'd support either action.

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mrbig 2 years, 6 months ago

This guy is a D-Bag and should have had a longer sentence if changed at all.

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pace 2 years, 6 months ago

I thought the sentence was light for the monster. I suggest his parents donate some money to the victims of such crimes. They would be better examples rather than just supporting their poor misunderstood monster.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 6 months ago

"barry o supports this persecution of the successful and we are all beginning to pay for that policy. If you take away any incentive to work hard and be successful, the lazy bums that make up most of society in Lawrence, will have no one to support them. " ==== HUH?

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lawrenceguy40 2 years, 6 months ago

Justice in this town is no longer blind. If you come from a wealthy background and work hard to become successful, you will have a hard time finding justice in Lawrence, Kansas. Matt would have done a lot better if he had instructed his family to abandon him and then played the poor bum role.

Just go back to the original reports and look through for references to wealthy, rich, or privileged. Then substitute those adjectives with black, hispanic or disabled. See how it reads. It will shock you. But Matt had no more choice in his adoptive parents wealth than he had in being born white. But the justice system can label a person as rich without consequence.

barry o supports this persecution of the successful and we are all beginning to pay for that policy. If you take away any incentive to work hard and be successful, the lazy bums that make up most of society in Lawrence, will have no one to support them.

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consumer1 2 years, 6 months ago

money money money...MONEY!! Let's hope for justice in this case and not merely the ability of one's wealthy parents ability to sway the courts by badgering them endlessly by paying an attorney to continue to file appeals.

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