The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, "D.A. won't challenge new trial order for Cheatham; New trial for convicted killer must start 90 days after high court mandate." It's by Sherman Smith.
The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday it would be “ill-advised” to appeal Phillip Cheatham’s overturned conviction in a 2003 murder case.
The decision clears the way for a new trial after the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling in January that Cheatham had received ineffective assistance from his attorney. District Attorney Chad Taylor said in a news release Tuesday he was “extremely disappointed” by the court’s decision.
Taylor had announced his intention in early February to appeal the Kansas Supreme Court decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the deadline to do so is Thursday. But “after exhaustive research” of case law from across the nation, he changed his mind.
Among the most serious problems was Hawver informing jurors of Cheatham’s 1994 manslaughter conviction, which prosecutors wouldn’t have been allowed to mention. Hawver told jurors Cheatham was a “professional drug dealer” and “shooter of people.”
Because of those comments, the high court said in its ruling this year, “our confidence in the outcome of the jury’s verdict is shaken to its core. These particular errors cannot be excused and require a new trial.”