Matchett was a crack addict in desperate need of a fix.
earlier in Huntsville, he killed 74-year-old Melonee Josey with a
meat hammer after she refused to give him money.
The day before that,
he severely beat 91-year-old Ola Mae Williams for the same reason.
Today, he randomly knocked on doors in a northeast Houston
neighborhood before he appeared at Uries Anderson's doorstep to ask
for money. Anderson, who was related to Matchett by marriage,
lectured him about his drug habit. Anderson, who was home alone, was
attacked by Matchett.
His body was found two days later. The 52-year-old
father of four had been stabbed twice in the back and his head badly
beaten with a hammer.
Matchett was arrested when he tried to cash
one of Anderson's personal checks. Matchett confessed to Houston
police about the three-day crime spree and later pleaded guilty to
Anderson's murder. Matchett later accepted plea deals in the
Huntsville murders. He received a life prison sentence for Josey's
murder, and 99 years in prison for attacking Williams.
Matchett v. State, 941 S.W.2d 922 (Tex.Cr.App. 1996) (Direct
Matchett v. Dretke, 380 F.3d 844 (5th Cir. 2004) (Habeas).
Four olives and a bottle of wild-berry flavored water.
He began his final statement by telling his family: "I love you all.
Stay strong, and know that I am in a better place." He then
addressed members of victim Uries Anderson's family, who witnessed
the execution. Matchett, who is related to the Anderson family by
marriage, asked for their forgiveness. He said he hoped they "found
peace" in their hearts through his death. He then said, "Into thy
hands I command my spirit." A moment later he went on to thank his
supporters, who included French actress Brigitte Bardot. "Don't let
this be the end," he said. "Keep going." His voice trailed off as
the lethal injection took effect.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Inmate: Farley Charles Matchett
Date of Birth: 11/19/62
Date Received: 4/30/93
Education: 12 years
Occupation: truck driver
Date of Offense: 7/12/91
County of Offense: Harris
Native County: Harris County, Texas
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Height: 6 ft 01 in
Farley Charles Matchett (November
19, 1962 – September 12, 2006) was executed by
lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas for the
robbery and murder of Uries Anderson.
Matchett had no prior felony
convictions, but he did have a history of drug use
and other minor offenses. He was discharged from the
army in 1981 for being AWOL, fighting with another
soldier, and possession of marijuana. In 1989, he
was convicted of marijuana possession and was
sentenced to 6 months of probation. He was also
enrolled in a drug and alcohol program for his
$600-a-day habit, but he never showed up for further
treatment after his initial visit. He later said
that his court-ordered drug treatment programs were
not right for him, because they did not use
medication to help him overcome his addiction.
On July 10, 1991, Farley Matchett,
addicted to crack cocaine, beat Ola Mae Williams,
91, on the head with a hammer after she refused to
give him money for his drug habit. The next day,
Matchett beat Melonee Josey, 74, on the head after
she also refused to give him money. Matchett then
stole Josey's vehicle and drove it to Houston.
Williams suffered permanent brain damage from the
attack. Josey died.
On July 12, Matchett showed up at
the home of Uries Anderson. Anderson owed Matchett
money, but instead of giving Matchett the money he
was owed, Anderson gave him a lecture about his drug
habit. Matchett then stabbed Anderson in the back
twice and beat him on the head with a hammer.
Anderson's body was found two days later. Matchett
was later arrested when he forged and tried to cash
one of Anderson's personal checks. He confessed to
all three attacks.
Matchett received a 99-year
sentence for the Williams beating, and a life
sentence for the Josey murder. In 1993, a jury
sentenced him to death for the Anderson murder. The
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the
conviction and death sentence in 1996. All of his
following appeals were denied.
While on death row, Matchett
wrote a letter that was published on several anti-death-penalty
web sites. In the letter, Matchett claimed he killed
Anderson in self-defense. Matchett wrote that he and
Anderson had a fight, then Anderson grabbed a knife
and attempted to slit his throat. Matchett was able
to push the knife back, stabbing Anderson in the
chest. According to Matchett's letter, he called
paramedics, and Anderson died in surgery.
Matchett also claimed that the
police beat a confession out of him and led his hand
in signing it. He wrote that he pleaded guilty after
his lawyer assured him that the death penalty was
off the table. The Assistant District Attorney said
that there was never a deal to spare Matchett from
the death penalty, and that the questions asked of
prospective jurors during jury selection should have
made that obvious.
Matchett had a last meal request
of four olives and a bottle of wild-berry flavored
water, and was executed on September 12, 2006 by
lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. He left
behind 3 daughters, Kari, Diana, and Teri, and two
grandchildren. His last words were:
"To my family and my mother
and my three precious daughters, I love you all.
And to my brother and sister for standing with
me throughout this situation. Stay strong and
know that I'm in a better place. I ask for
forgiveness. And to the victim's family, find
peace and cancellation with my death and move on.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, I commend myself to you.
I am ready."
At the end, killer asks families for forgiveness;
hopes his death brings them peace
By Rosanna Ruiz - Houston Chronicle
Sept. 13, 2006
HUNSTVILLE - A former crack addict, who in 1991
went on a three-day crime spree in which he killed an elderly
Huntsville woman and a Houston house painter, was executed Tuesday.
Farley Charles Matchett, 43, asked his victims' relatives for
forgiveness before he was put to death by lethal injection.
He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m. He is the
21st man in Texas to die in Huntsville's death chamber this year. A
last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution
He began his final statement by
telling his family: "I love you all. Stay strong, and know that I am
in a better place." He then addressed members of victim Uries
Anderson's family, who witnessed the execution.
Matchett, who is related to the Anderson family
by marriage, asked for their forgiveness. He said he hoped they "found
peace" in their hearts through his death. He then said, "Into thy
hands I command my spirit." A moment later he went on to thank his
supporters, who included French actress Brigitte Bardot. "Don't let
this be the end," he said. "Keep going." His voice trailed off as
the lethal injection took effect.
Anderson's body was found two days after he was
slain on July 14, 1991. The 52-year-old father of four had been
stabbed twice in the back and his head was beaten with a hammer.
Matchett was arrested when he tried to cash one of Anderson's
personal checks. A day before Anderson's slaying, Matchett killed
74-year-old Melonee Josey with a meat hammer after she refused to
give him money. The day before that, he severely beat 91-year-old
Ola Mae Williams for the same reason.
Matchett confessed to Houston police about the
three-day crime spree and later pleaded guilty to Anderson's slaying.
Josey's son, James E. Josey, did not speak
publicly afterward, but the Anderson family issued a statement: "While
we do not glory in a life being taken, it's now done and it has
closed a painful chapter in our lives, enabling us to continue our
As his execution nears, an inmate
opens up: How much remorse is enough for crime?
By Rosanna Ruiz -
Sept. 13, 2006
Farley Charles Matchett needed another fix. The
crack addict had randomly knocked on doors in a northeast Houston
neighborhood before he appeared at Uries Anderson's doorstep to ask
for money. Anderson, who was related to Matchett by marriage,
lectured him about his drug habit. Anderson, who was home alone, may
not have known how deep Matchett's desperation ran.
A day earlier in Huntsville, Matchett killed 74-year-old
Melonee Josey with a meat hammer after she refused to give him money.
The day before that, he severely beat 91-year-old Ola Mae Williams
for the same reason. Anderson's body was found two days later, on
July 14, 1991. The 52-year-old father of four had been stabbed twice
in the back and his head badly beaten with a hammer. Matchett was
arrested when he tried to cash one of Anderson's personal checks.
He confessed to Houston police about the three-day
crime spree and later pleaded guilty to Anderson's murder. On
Tuesday, Matchett is scheduled to become the 21st man in Texas to
die by lethal injection this year.
During a recent interview from death row, the 43-year-old
spoke about his life before and after drugs, his court case and what
he considers an unfair shake at the legal system with his state-appointed
counsel. Matchett believes another review of his appellate case can
spare his life. "I live every day with what happened, and I regret
what happened," he said. "How much remorse does society want me to
Problems early on
Matchett was raised early on by his paternal
grandparents in the East Texas town of Madisonville. His teenage
mother lived in nearby Midway, and he rarely saw his father. After
his mother, Annie Robinson, married, Matchett went to live with her
in Grand Prairie near Dallas.
At 13, Matchett began to hang out on the streets
and run errands for drug dealers and prostitutes. The bottom really
fell out of his life when his 11-year-old sister was raped. Matchett
said he blamed himself for not being around to protect her. "It was
the worst time of my life," Matchett said.
He dropped out of school and joined the U.S. Army,
but soon learned that the life of solitude he had sought would not
be found in the military. Matchett "lost interest" and was
discharged in 1981 for being absent without leave, fighting with a
private and possession of marijuana.
After the Army, Matchett worked as a truck driver,
school bus driver and landscaper. He could make it through the week,
but come Friday his addiction took hold and he "binge smoked." "You
couldn't get me to do nothing on the weekend," he said with a smile.
Matchett had at least two chances to quit his
$600-a-day drug habit. In 1990, he was referred to a drug and
alcohol program after he was charged with possession of marijuana.
He never showed after his first visit, court records indicate.
A year later, his mother enrolled him in a drug
treatment program, but he was discharged after less than a month —
also just four months before Anderson and Josey were slain. "He was
not willing to listen and was closed minded," court documents state.
Matchett said the program wasn't the right fit. He insists his
addiction should've been handled with medication. "I could've got
over my addiction, and I wouldn't be in this situation," he said.
For the sake of his appeal,
Matchett was careful not to go into great detail about what landed
him on death row 13 years ago. Still, he recalled hardly eating or
sleeping in the days leading up to the homicides. "I didn't realize
what I had done," Matchett said.
Those words, conveyed to Anderson's eldest son,
offered scant explanation why Matchett took his father's life. "He's
definitely caused pain in my life and throughout the lives of my
family members," said Uries Anderson Jr., a Naval officer stationed
in Norfolk, Va. "Will death suffice for his punishment? Maybe. Maybe
not. I think it's up to the higher being. Let him decide."
Anderson said the last time he saw his father was
just a few days before he was murdered. He was off to work, wearing
his typical all-white painter's uniform. The younger Anderson was in
Hawaii, celebrating his graduation from Kashmere High School, when
he received word to return home.
His mother, Lonnie, and 13-year-old brother,
Lamarcus, were also out of town at the time. Uries Anderson Jr. said
he has lingering questions about what provoked Matchett. "I want to
know what happened in those closing moments," he said.
'Set up' by attorney
Matchett said he is sorry about what happened and
has prayed for the ability to accept his fate. But he won't give up
until he gets another review of his case, Matchett said. He insists
he was "set up" by his lead trial attorney, the late Donald Davis.
He said Davis persuaded him to plead guilty after he assured him the
death penalty was off the table as an option.
Attorney Robert Morrow, who also represented
Matchett during the trial, did not return repeated phone calls. Roe
Wilson, a Harris County assistant district attorney, said court
records don't support Matchett's claim of a deal was to spare him
from the death penalty.
The punishment options should have been clear
from the start of jury selection, she said. By that point it was too
late, Matchett said. "He chose to finance his drug habit by
murdering elderly people and stealing from them," Wilson said. "No,
there's no sympathy for him."
Roy E. Greenwood, an Austin lawyer appointed to
represent Matchett in the Huntsville cases, said he remains puzzled
about Matchett's guilty plea. He said Matchett should have been able
to argue in court that he killed Anderson in self-defense, but was
prohibited by the plea. "Why he (Davis) pled him guilty and blew off
all these legal issues never made sense to me," Greenwood said. "You
just don't give up with plea of guilty."
Matchett, whose federal and state appeals all
were denied, also faulted his trial attorneys for not presenting
mitigating evidence for jurors to consider a lesser punishment. He
also claimed that court-appointed appellate attorneys botched his
No grounds for appeal
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake denied the assertion
and wrote in a 2003 dismissal order that inmates' claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel in post-conviction appeals is not
grounds for court relief. The Supreme Court has recognized, he wrote,
that there is no constitutional right to an attorney in state
Matchett accepted plea deals in the Huntsville
cases. He received a life prison sentence for Josey's July 11, 1991,
murder and 99 years in prison for attacking Williams.
Anti-death penalty groups and activists,
including French actress Bridget Bardot, have latched onto
Matchett's case. Matchett said he's touched by the support, but he's
ready if he is executed Tuesday. "I'll finally be free. Death is a
bridge we all must cross, and if this is my time it's my time,"
Matchett said. "If I could turn back the hands of time, I would."
Texas executes man for 1991 robbery, murder
Sep 12, 2006
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (Reuters) -
Texas executed a former addict on Tuesday for the 1991 murder of a
52-year-old Houston paint contractor who refused to hand over money
for the man's drug habit. Farley Charles Matchett, 43, was condemned
for robbing and killing Uries Anderson in his Houston home. Anderson
was stabbed and struck in the head numerous times with a hammer.
The July 12, 1991, murder capped a three-day
crime spree during which Matchett killed a 74-year-old Huntsville
woman, also by striking her with a hammer, and beat another elderly
woman while stealing money and other items to support his $600-a-day
crack cocaine habit. Matchett was sentenced to life in prison for
the death of Melonee Josey of Huntsville and given 74 years in
prison for the beating of Ola Mac Williams.
Matchett, then 29, was arrested a few days after
Anderson's death, trying to cash forged checks. Matchett had a
lengthy criminal record, dating back to the age of 13.
His case drew interest from opponents of the
death penalty. In July, French film star Brigitte Bardot wrote Texas
Gov. Rick Perry asking for Matchett to be pardoned.
While strapped to a gurney in the death chamber
shortly before his lethal injection, Matchett asked his family for
forgiveness. To the families of his victims who witnessed the
execution, Matchett said, "find peace and cancellation with my death
and move on."
Matchett was the 21st person executed in Texas
this year and the 376th put to death in the state since it resumed
capital punishment in 1982, six years after the U.S. Supreme Court
lifted a national death penalty ban. Both totals lead the nation.
For his last meal, Matchett
requested four olives and a bottle of wild-berry flavored water.
Texas has six more executions scheduled this year.
Man executed for killing his uncle in 1991
Michael Graczyk - Fort Worth Star Telegram
Wed, Sep. 13, 2006
HUNTSVILLE - Condemned prisoner Farley Charles
Matchett was executed Tuesday for killing his uncle in July 1991
during three brutal days in which an elderly woman was killed and
another seriously injured. In a brief final statement, Matchett
expressed love to his family "for standing with me throughout this
situation. Stay strong and know I am in a better place. I ask for
He also asked the victim's family to "find peace
in your heart" with his death and move on. Matchett said a short
prayer and then thanked his friends and pen pals. He was pronounced
dead at 6:16 p.m.
At his trial, in 1993, Matchett,
43, pleaded guilty to capital murder, and a Harris County jury
decided he should die for fatally stabbing and beating Uries
Anderson, 52, of Houston. On a Web site devoted to his case,
Matchett wrote that he pleaded guilty on the advice of his attorney,
who said Matchett should be sentenced to life in prison. "He set me
up to get the death sentence," Matchett wrote.
Matchett, who lived in Huntsville and whose crack
cocaine habit cost him as much as a $600 a day, also pleaded guilty
to murder and was sentenced to life in prison for killing Melonee
Josey, 74, of Huntsville, who refused his request for $10. He also
agreed to a 99-year sentence for beating 91-year-old Ola Mac
Williams of Huntsville, who was left with brain damage. The weapon
in both those attacks was a hammer.
Evidence showed that he stole Josey's car and
drove to Houston, where an argument over his drug use led to a fight
and Anderson's slaying. On the Web site, Matchett wrote that the
slaying was in self-defense -- that in the fight his uncle grabbed a
knife but that he pushed it back toward him. "It lodged in his chest,
and he immediately fell," Matchett said. An autopsy showed that
Anderson died of stab wounds to the back, not chest, and a skull
fracture caused by blows from a hammer.
The execution was the 21st this year in Texas.
Farley Charles Matchett
Farley Charles Matchett, 45, was executed by
lethal injection on 12 September 2006 in Huntsville, Texas for the
robbery and murder of a man in his home.
On 10 July 1991 in Huntsville, Matchett, then 28
and addicted to crack cocaine, beat Ola Mae Williams, 91, on the
head with a hammer after she refused to give him money for drugs.
The following day, Matchett beat Melonee Josey, 74, on the head
after she refused to give him money. Matchett then stole Josey's car
and drove it to Houston. Williams suffered permanent brain damage in
the attack. Josey died.
On 12 July, Matchett appeared at
the Houston home of Uries Anderson, a relative by marriage. Instead
of giving Matchett money, Anderson gave him a lecture about his drug
habit. Matchett then stabbed Anderson twice in the back and beat him
on the head with a hammer. Anderson's body was found two days later.
Matchett was arrested when he tried to forge and cash one of
Anderson's personal checks. He confessed to all three attacks to
Matchett had no prior felony convictions, but he
did have a history of drug abuse and minor offenses. He was
discharged from the U.S. army in 1981 for being absent without leave,
fighting with another soldier, and possession of marijuana.
In 1989, he was convicted of marijuana possession
and sentenced to 6 months' probation. He was also enrolled in a drug
and alcohol program for his $600-a-day habit, but he never showed up
for treatment after his first visit. He also had a conviction for
marijuana possession and theft in May 1990 and was sentenced to 6
Matchett pleaded guilty to all three attacks. He
received a 99-year sentence for the Williams beating, and a life
sentence for the Josey murder. In April 1993, a jury sentenced him
to death for the Anderson murder. The Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed the conviction and death sentence in November 1996.
All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
While on death row, Matchett wrote a letter that
was published on several anti-death-penalty web sites. In the letter,
Matchett claimed he killed Anderson in self-defense. He went to
Anderson's house because Anderson owed him money, he wrote. "I made
inquires as to when he was going to settle the 8-month-old debt and
at that point, the man became angry," Matchett wrote. "I could see
the situation escalating, so I made an attempt to leave, but I was
abruptly stopped at the door by the victim who spun me around and
struck me with his fist."
Matchett wrote that he and
Anderson fought, then Anderson grabbed a knife and attempted to
slash his throat. Matchett was able to push the knife away, lodging
it in Anderson's chest. According to Matchett's letter, he called
paramedics, and Anderson died in surgery.
Matchett also claimed that the police literally
beat a confession out of him and led his hand in signing it. He
wrote that he pleaded guilty after his lawyer, Donald Davis, assured
him that the death penalty was off the table. Matchett also implied
that Davis's June 2000 suicide was the result of another lawyer's
discovery of Davis's role in a conspiracy to convict him.
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Roe
Wilson said that there was never a deal to spare Matchett from the
death penalty, and that the questions asked of prospective jurors
during the jury selection process should have made that obvious.
In an interview from death row the week before
his execution, Matchett admitted that he "binge smoked" on weekends.
"You couldn't get me to do nothing on the weekend," he said, smiling.
He said that his court-ordered drug treatment programs weren't right
for him, because they didn't use medication to help him overcome his
addiction. With the right program, "I wouldn't be in this situation,"
In his last statement at his execution, Matchett
expressed love to his family and asked Anderson's family for
forgiveness. He was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m.
Farley Matchett embarked on a crime spree in 1991
that left his own uncle and another person dead and a third person
seriously injured. Matchett was sentenced to death for the fatal
beating and stabbing of his uncle, Uries Anderson, 52, at the man's
home in Houston, Texas.
Matchett also was sentenced to a life prison term
for the murder of an elderly woman in Huntsville and 99 years for
leaving another elderly Huntsville woman beaten so badly that she
suffered brain damage. All three crimes happened during one week in
Evidence at trial showed that Matchett used a
hammer to beat Ola Mac Williams, 91, whose Huntsville yard he had
mowed. Then he went to the house of a neighbor, also in Huntsville,
Melonee Josey, 74, and fatally beat her with a meat hammer after she
refused to give him $10.
The next day, on July 12, 1991, Matchett argued
with his uncle about his drug use, and stabbed Uries with a knife
and struck him in the head with a hamemr before robbing the home of
money so he could buy crack cocaine. He was arrested when he tried
to cash checks he had forged with his uncle's signature.
Farley Matchett, TX September 12, 2006
Do Not Execute Farley Matchett
Farley Matchett and his supporters continue to
claim self-defense as his Sep. 12 execution date approaches.
Matchett, a 43-year-old black male, was convicted of the July 1991
robbery and murder of Uries Anderson in Houston. According to the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Matchett murdered Anderson in
order to steal money for crack cocaine. He was arrested while
attempting to cash a forged check and sentenced to death.
Matchett’s supporters maintain
that there are other important factors to this sequence of events
that many, including the jury, never heard.
Matchett claims that he killed Anderson in self-defense.
According to Matchett, he went to the victim’s home in an attempt to
settle an 8-month debt. As the situation escalated, Anderson became
angry and attacked Matchett, eventually threatening him by holding a
knife against his throat. Matchett says that only at this point did
he become violent, and he killed Anderson in self-defense. Matchett
then called the paramedics for help, but Anderson died in surgery
Matchett calls his trial “a mockery of justice.”
He claims that upon arrest, he was beaten by police for more than 36
hours until he confessed. Then, the state incarcerated him for 19
months before he stood trial. Matchett cites ineffective assistance
of counsel as a flaw of his trial, noting that his defense attorney
called only two witnesses during the punishment phase of the trial
and failed to make necessary objections.
Additionally, his attorney failed to fully
investigate and present a complete and accurate mitigation defense
and did not challenge the admissibility of some questionable
testimony. Instead, the attorney urged Matchett to plead guilty,
thus forfeiting his right to challenge the legality of his arrest
and the admissibility of his confession on appeal.
The state of Texas will execute Farley Matchett
on Sept. 12, despite the numerous trial errors and his continuing
claims of innocence.
Please write to Gov. Rick Perry on behalf of
Farley Matchett was arrested and convicted in
1991 for the stabbing death of Uries Anderson from Houston, TX.
Harris County is the county in Texas that Farley was tried and
sentenced in. Statistics show that Harris County leads the USA in
the number of cases tried and sent to death row as well as the
number of men that are actually executed.
There was a murder the day before, however Farley
Matchett was named as a suspect but was never charged. Farley like
most death row inmates in this country did not receive a fair trial
or a full review as entitled under the constitution of the US. The
constitution says that a defendent has a right to effective
assistance of counsel and trial and direct appeal, however in the
post conviction process a person is entitled to counsel, but they do
not have to be effective.
The fact the murder may have been in self-defense
which is the same as being factually innocent is only one of the
many claims that have gone unaddressed, therefore due to issues not
being raised at a proper time they were barred from being heard. The
need for an attorney is to try to resurrect these viable claims and
get them back into State Court where they can be properly addressed.
We need Help!
The need for a moratorium on the death penalty
A moratorium on executions must be declared by
2/3 of the Texas Legislation, and two laws which hinder the due
process intended by lawmakers for death row inmates must be repealed.
Overwhelming evidence that the system is not working includes, but
is not limited to, the following:
Misuse of funds which have been set-aside by
lawmakers for inmates’ defense, for expert witnesses, psychologists,
investigators and mitigation experts. Funds have been denied to
inmates and returned to the state, constituting a hindrance of
Denial of the opportunity for DNA testing which
could prove inmates’ innocence, even when the inmate planned to pay
for the testing himself.
The DNA lab in Houston was found
to be so negligent that it was closed due to gross errors.
Three of the Justices on the CCA recently spoke
out publicly and stated that the Court has been “knowingly”
appointing incompetent counsel to death row inmates and that the
December 4, 2002 execution of Leonard Rojas should have been stopped
on these crowds.
The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that
prosecutors in Texas have intentionally excluded blacks, Mexicans,
Jews and Dagos from serving on jury panels.
There is evidence that evidence has been
falsified, including planting of stored blood samples on defendants’
clothing, and “expert” testimony by psychologists who have not
interviewed defendants, leading to conviction and execution.
*The current environment in Texas, in which
inmates are freely executed without due process, would diminish if
two Texas laws could be repealed. First, the “Immunity Laws” must be
repealed by Texas legislators, so that prosecutors and Judges can be
held accountable for malicious, unwarranted prosecution of
defendants whose crimes aren’t legitimate capital murder cases under
the capital litigation statues. Those litigators who violate these
laws would lose their license to practice for one year or more. The
prosecution rate would sharply decline, as evidenced in Illinois.
Secondly, the repeal of the “Texas Inquest Laws”
would bring to the public view cases in which innocent people may
have been executed. As it stands now, the laws prevent anyone,
including the executed person’s family, from proving the executed
person’s innocence. That is how former Governor Bush and present
Governor Perry can declare that no innocent person has been executed
in Texas under their watches.
We all know that that is not true,
but how can it be proven, when laws prevent the gathering of
evidence? Until this law is repealed, we’ll never be able to
demonstrate to the public that innocent people have been executed.
With a repealed “Texas Inquest Law”, I am certain
that Texas will be shown to be the true killer. Until this law and
the Immunity Law are repealed, Texas will continue to wreak havoc on
the poor, the minorities, the mentally retarded and the mentally ill.
James Colburn, a severe paranoid schizophrenic, for example, was
killed on March 26, 2003
By Farley C. Matchett - January 23, 2004
Today we gather together to stand united in the
fight to abolish the death penalty world wide. The eradication of
this barbaric act bestowed upon men and women alike can not come too
soon, for that may very well be too late for some of us languishing
on death rows.
Each one of you here, share a common bond... a
belief in humanity and a belief that everyone has a right to live,
regardless of what he or she accused of. No man or woman on the face
of this Earth has the God given right to dictate who lives and who
dies. This is a majestic scorn against Religious and Moral
principles, but then too... those who deem themselves the giver or
taker of life in name of justice, have no morals, nor principles.
Let me remind you that here in Texas, 315 people
have been executed since 1982 ; post-Furman era. The risk and danger
grows greater every day, as those who control this reign of death an
injustice eagerly push to eliminate more lives because times are
changing and many atrocities of judicial injustice are coming to
Tiny drops of water feed streams, rivers and then
oceans. Most of you sitting here can not see the changes but they
are there... example The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that is
unconstitutional to execute mentally retarded inmates = Atkins -vs-
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court
acknowledged that a court appointed lawyer did not act in his
clients best interest and acknowledged the violation of the Sixth
amendment of the U.S. Constitution = " ineffective assistance of
Mainly so because the attorney did not get up and
investigate the inmates backgroung. Had he done so, he would have
found compelling evidence that would be classified as mitigating and
strong enough to persuade a jury to come to a different conclusion,
other than a death sentence. = Wiggins -vs- Cercoran
Three Texas Appellate Judges on the notorious
Court of Criminal appeals acknowledged that the 9 member court had
been knowingly appointing incompetent attorneys to defend State
habeas petitions for death row inmates. The court was given 7
million dollars for indigent death row inmates defense, but some
how, we never received the funds.
A clear case of mis-appropiation of funds. So
after they messed off the money, they use incompetent attorneys who
take the cases for $ 7,500 dollars: These are lawyers who do nothing
to protect the rights of the defendants, and merely go through the
motions as we are marched to the death chamber in assembly line
fashion. This evolution of human conflict did not simply arise 30
years ago, it birthed itself from the seed of hate some 250 years
The conflict moved with a debilitating sense and
purpose. It bombed, burned and hanged those who they found unjust
and unfit for the society. From the seed of hate bigotry was derived,
then social injustice spawned. From slavery to the electric chair. A
Rope and vigilantes, to a power surge in the middle of the night.
To proceed with their evil deeds,
they wrote this barbaric act deep into their laws, which stood until
1972 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is
used in a biased manner against the poor and minorities. Little has
changed since its re-instatement in 1976 ... 28 years ago.
Every one of you has the capability to create a
powerful force in the struggle, but those who are in this fight must
"Unite" unconditionally. There are more forces that fight against
the death penalty, than there are those who are for the death
penalty. Here in Texas, there are basically 2 pro death penalty
organisations, where as there are about 6 - 7 organisations that
fight against it. In Europe there are far more against, than for,
but the world wide problem is "in fighting".
While cyber arguments are happening, some one is
slowly being inched to the chamber. I am in no way accusing any of
you, but I merely want you to see what a Greater force there could
be if we all joined hands. You can make a difference, only if you
believe in your heart.
Organizations must stop breaking off due to
malicious infighting because the time spent re-creating a new
organization is crucial time to someone on death row. While people
are fussing and fighting, they are loading up my comrades right
outside my window in shackles, belly chains and handcuffs.
Lacks are on each ankle along with
leg irons and from my window I watch him shuffle to a waiting van
that will take him quickly to the death chamber some 45 miles away.
While he sits in a cell adjacent to the death chamber watching time,
some discord and conflict within the struggles for justice are in
effect. It shouldn't be this way because we all share one common
When we as conscious individuals chose what we
would fight against. We stepped whole heartedly into this fight. The
fight has not changed, only the faces of the fighters. You are the
fighters, the eyes of those bound by concrete walls, the voice of
those who's literally level doesn't allow them to speak on paper...
the person who is for us, when the world has turned against us.
Today, we must be inspired by faith that the
uncertainties of tomorrow will materialize in a positive manner. Too
many men and women have died seeking something so simple... justice.
So many of you have made relentless sacrifices and I Thank each of
you with all of my heart, but now is a time where you must renew the
commitment’s within your heart.
One day the fruits of your labor will come forth.
I can't say when, but the movement is making waves... a change is
coming. I may not live to see it, but I want you to know that the
struggle for Justice is soon to be victorious. If I don't live to
see it, know that I will always be embedded in the hearts and minds
of those who hear these words. Be diligent, Be strong, Be persistent,
but by all means, be True to your heart. We have come a very long
way and the road has been bumpy, narrow, filled with grief and
despair, but you've not faltered... and here you sit... like me, ...
tired, but not so that we will quit.
So I say to you, the next time you
see cyber arguments, remind that person of precious time they are
wasting that could be used to help some death row inmate. None of us
are ever going to always agree with each other, but for the sake of
life, liberty and justice,... a compromise may give some inmate the
shred of hope he's been longing for. Hope for Justice is more
precious than gold and silver and its beauty is all some of us have
to held onto.
I thank you for your time in this and leave each
and everyone of you with all my love, Peace, Blessings and Best
wishes. Stay Strong in The Struggle!!! Stay United Forever!!!
Last night, I received a letter from France and
my pen pals little 10 years old daughter always adds her lines with
her Mothers letter. Last night she asked.... "Farley do you have
faith and hope?" I found it amazing that such profound words could
come from the mouth of a child... a child.
In answer, yes I have faith ... faith that God
will turn the tides of tribulation into an ocean of Triumphant Sea's...
one day soon, "Hope", that man kind will come to the realization
that in a civilized society such as ours, this death penalty
punishment has no place on the face of this Earth and its
eradication comes swiftly. Yes, I have faith and Yes I have hope
that tomorrow will be better than to day.
Thank You, Farley
Excerpts of Farley Matchett interview
Inspirational Thoughts… Love
Inspirational Thoughts…Faithful Missions
Passionate Pursuit for Peace and Understanding
I am the people
Farley's political articles 1999-2004
Farley's politsche Artikel 1999-2003 und Foto Gallery
His case: www.deathrow-texas.com
Farley's Fall: www.Todestrakt-Texas.de
Affidavit by Roy Greenwood
Letter From Farley Matchett
My name is Farley C. Matchett # 999060 and I’m a
death row inmate here in the State of Texas. My crime is defined by
the Texas Penal Code as that of self defense. Due to poor
representation at trial I was quickly sent to death row.
On July 11, 1991; I engaged a conversation with a
man whom I had made a monetary loan to. I made inquiries as to when
he was going to settle the 8-month-old debt and at that point, the
man became angry . I could see the situation escalating, so I made
an attempt to leave, but I was abruptly stopped at the door by the
victim who spun me around and struck me with his fist. A fight
ensued and with the victim being much larger than myself, I was
At some point, he grabbed a knife and had it very
close to my throat as he pushed to slash my throat. At this point, I
kicked him in the groin area and pushed the knife back towards him.
It lodged in his chest and he immediately fell. I called the
paramedics but he died in surgery later.
Three days later, I was arrested
and interrogated for 36 brutal hours in which the detectives
literally beat a confession out of me. I signed it just to get them
to stop the beatings. I couldn’t see the paper because of my swollen
eyes, so the detective led my hand in signing the confession. I then
was thrown into a cell underground to await my trial for 19long
Trial began on February 22, 1993 and was over
February 26, 1993. It was nothing short of a blatant mockery of
justice. My Court appointed lawyer did literally nothing to defend
my rights. He instructed me to plead guilty in order to avoid a
death sentence and he would inject the self defense plea later. I
complied because I trusted him but in all actuality, he set me up to
get the death sentence.
He called only two witnesses during the
punishment phase. He made no objections and in 1996, the Appeals
Courts turned me down on my first appeal because of this. Hey stated
that the lawyer failed to enter a noted objection when an error
occurred, but since he didn’t, they couldn’t enter it for him. Had
he simply objected, the they would have granted me a new trial. He
allowed the Prosecution team to have their way as he did nothing.
My victim was portrayed as that of a white man to
which that’s what I knew him as when I had loaned him the money. I
knew him a few years prior to this. During my trial he was still
portrayed as a white man who was married to a black woman. This was
done before a Jury of 11 Whites and 1 Black.
Years later….. June 2000, a lawyer investigating
the case reviewed an autopsy report and noted that the victim race
was listed as Black. She checked with the Medical Examiner because
she assumed it was a typing error, but the Medical Examiner assured
her the man was of mixed race Black/White and his features looked
more white than black but legally…. He’s black.
The Medical Examiner gave a swain
statement that he informed the Prosecution team when he handed them
the report, so the knew the man’s race. When the lawyer approached
the prosecutor with hopes of making a deal, she was asked to leave
The trial transcripts that stated him (victim) as
white only days prior were quickly changed to listing him as black,
so she felt that a conspiracy was unravelling and she approached a
Judge in order to obtain immunity for the initial trial lawyer if
she could get him to talk.
The judge agreed and she confronted my trial
lawyer and upon learning that he would get immunity, he confessed
that they “all” knew the victim was Black legally. He agreed- to
sign an affidavit in a few days but that never happened because he
committed suicide the following day (June 2000).
My trial was without a doubt, filled with many
gross violations of prosecutorial misconduct and defense lawyer
misconduct. It was tainted with injustice and conspiracy. If they
would have portrayed the victim as Black, I wouldn’t be sitting here
on death row or in any other jail. My trial is an example of the
Judicial Corruption here in Texas and our Governor always swears
that “Everybody” on death row received a fair trial.
The United States Constitution
guarantee’s every American the right to a fair trial with an
impartial jury. I was deny that right because the nurse who doctored
my wounds (eyes) after the beatings was not allowed to testify. The
call to the paramedics was excluded, I was not allowed to testify in
my own defense and then autopsy photos were used to inflame the jury.
The judge ruled the photos of the beaten inadmissible and in a
matter of five days…… I had a death sentence.
My case is like many others here that are filled
with errors and flaws. Many politicians are called for reforms and
guidelines in capital punishment. Somewhere along the way, an
innocent life is going to be terminated by execution.
I seek desperately not to be that life. Texas is
sweltering with injustice and executions are so common that they no
longer make front page of the Huntsville newspaper. Governor Bush
has stood over 145 executions in 5 years he’s been in office. He has
vetoed bills that would stop the execution of the mentally retarded
or mentally ill.
He refuses to allow a pool of experienced public
defender system lawyers for capital punishment and leaves
appointment of lawyers to the trial judges. They appoint lawyers who
clear the docket and they make “tax deductible” campaign
contributions to the judge’s re-election campaign.
There is no justice for the poor,
the mentally retarded, the mentally ill and people of colour. All we
can do is hope for a brighter tomorrow and pray for miracle in the
face of adversity where life hangs in the balances of mock scales of
I seek out one chance at a new trial, so that I
can properly present all of the facts to the Court that were left
out at the initial trial. I ask you for your support so that I may
be able to hire to defend my case through the appeals courts and
back into the trial court. I need your help with donations at the
following addresses listed below.
You may also contact me directly here at the
prison with a letter if you choose to do so. Each night as I lay my
head on my pillow, I pray for Justice, Freedom and the ability to
hold my 3 daughters and Grandmother in my arms again. Thank each of
you for your time in this intricate matter. Take care and God bless
each of you.
Sincerely, Farley C. Matchett
# 999060 Polunsky Unit D.R.
12002 FM 350 South
Livingston – Texas 77351 U.S.A.
Please Help with your Donations sent to:
The Farley c. Matchett Defense Project
c/o Mrs Pennie Matchett
P.O. Box 121
Midway, Texas, 75852
Matchett v. State,
941 S.W.2d 922 (Tex.Cr.App. 1996) (Direct Appeal).
Defendant pleaded guilty in the Criminal District
Court, Harris County, William T. Harmon, J., to robbery murder and
was sentenced to death. Defendant appealed.
The Court of Criminal Appeals,
Overstreet, J., held that: (1) trial court erred by failing to fully
admonish defendant on consequences of guilty plea but this error was
harmless; (2) defendant's arraignment in open court did not violate
proscription against waiver of jury trial in capital murder trial;
(3) defendant failed to show that he was unfairly surprised by
testimony regarding unadjudicated extraneous offense; (4) testimony
by murder victim's wife was admissible; (5) court's use of extra-statutory
instructions did not violate any procedure to be followed in capital
murder or separation of powers principles; (6) two versions of
capital murder procedure statute did not violate equal protection;
(7) court's failure to assign burden of proof regarding mitigation
instruction did not unconstitutionally shift burden of proof to
defendant; (8) jury's finding that defendant represents continuing
threat to society was supported by substantial evidence; (9)
defendant was not entitled to use of special verdict form; (10)
defendant was not entitled to appointment of expert to determine
jury's ability to understand special issues; (11) jury did not
improperly consider operation of parole in their deliberations; (12)
court could limit defendant's repetitious, harassing, and
argumentative questioning of juror during hearing on juror
misconduct; (13) court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing
juror; and (14) defendant was not entitled to punishment instruction.
McCormick, P.J., concurred in result. Maloney and
Meyers, JJ., concurred in result in part and otherwise joined
opinion. Baird, J., filed opinion concurring in judgment. Mansfield,
J., filed concurring opinion. Clinton, J., filed dissenting opinion.
OVERSTREET, Judge. In February 1993, appellant
pled guilty and was convicted under Texas Penal Code § 19.03(a)(2)
for a robbery murder committed in July 1991. The jury affirmatively
answered the two special issues submitted under Article
37.071(b).FN1 Appellant was sentenced to death as mandated by
Article 37.071(e). Article 37.071(h) provides direct appeal to this
court. Appellant raises thirty-seven points of error. We affirm.
* * *
In his second point, appellant
alleges that the trial court erred in taking his guilty plea outside
the presence of the jury. Appellant argues that his plea was to the
court and not to the jury and as such violated that mandate of
Article 27.13 that a guilty plea be made “in open court by the
defendant in person.”
Appellant argues that his failure to plead guilty
before the jury violated both explicit and implicit statutory
proscriptions against the waiver of a jury trial in capital murder
trials in which the death sentence is sought. Arts. 1.13, 1.14, and
According to the record, prior to calling in the
jury, the trial court arraigned appellant in open court. The trial
court asked the State to read the indictment aloud, then asked for
appellant's plea, and appellant pled guilty. The jury was then
brought in and sworn.
The State then read the indictment
to the jury, and the trial court informed the jury, without
objection, that appellant had knowingly and voluntarily pled guilty
to the charges against him. After the State presented its evidence
and rested, the trial court instructed the jury to return a verdict
finding appellant guilty.
Appellant's plea of guilty in open court and on
the record, albeit not to the jury, was sufficient to satisfy
Article 27.13. In Tutor v. State, 599 S.W.2d 818 (Tex.Crim.App.1980),
Tutor pled guilty during an arraignment and when the jury was later
empaneled and sworn in, the indictment was read to them and the
trial court informed them, without objection from the defense, that
Tutor had pled guilty. Tutor asserted on appeal, as appellant does
today, that his trial was “rendered null” because he had not
personally entered a plea before the jury as required by Article
27.13. We held that the facts presented no violation of Article
Similarly, in Shields v. State, 608 S.W.2d 924,
925-27 (Tex.Crim.App.1980) we held that both the spirit and letter
of Article 27.13 were satisfied when in a bench trial, Shield's
attorney pled guilty for him, but the trial court obtained Shield's
personal assurance on the record that the plea was voluntary.
In the case at bar, the court's procedure was an
unnecessary variation from what is preferable, but appellant's
personal plea in open court and on the record was nevertheless
sufficient to satisfy Article 27.13 which seeks merely to establish
that the accused voluntarily desires to plead guilty.
* * *
Points of error seventeen,
eighteen, and nineteen voice appellant's contentions, respectively,
that the evidence was insufficient to support the jury's answer to
the second (dangerousness) and third (mitigation) special issues and
that we are unable to meaningfully review the evidence because it
cannot be determined upon what evidence the jury based its answers
to the special issues.
Appellant's arguments betray some
misunderstandings regarding sufficiency reviews.    
Texas has followed the common law in assigning the factfinding
function exclusively to juries. Tex. Const. Art. I, § 15 interp.
Commentary (Vernon's 1984). We had repeatedly held that the “jurors
are the exclusive judges of the facts”. Abdnor v. State, 871 S.W.2d
726, 731 (Tex.Crim.App.1994).
That conflicting evidence was
introduced does not render evidence insufficient; indeed, the
reviewing court must assume that the factfinder resolved conflicts
in the evidence in favor of the verdict reached. Turro v. State, 867
S.W.2d 43, 47 (Tex.Crim.App.1993).
A reviewing court is not required to determine
whether it believes that the evidence at trial established guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. Although faced with conflicting
inferences, a reviewing court must presume that the trier of fact
resolved any such conflict in favor of the prosecution, and must
defer to that resolution. Id.
Thus, a reviewing court does not sit as a
thirteenth juror reweighing the credibility or weight of evidence,
but asks only whether the evidence exists to support the jury's
finding. E.g. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 99 S.Ct. 2781,
2789, 61 L.Ed.2d 560; Chambers v. State, 866 S.W.2d 9, 15 (Tex.Crim.App.1993),
cert denied, 511 U.S. 1100, 114 S.Ct. 1871, 128 L.Ed.2d 491 (1994).
This is what it means when courts assert that evidence is reviewed
“in the light most favorable to the verdict.” Jackson, 443 U.S. at
319, 99 S.Ct. at 2789; Chambers, 866 S.W.2d at 15.
Thus, when appellant argues that we cannot review
the sufficiency of the evidence because we cannot ascertain upon
what evidence the jury reached its verdict, he presents no grounds
for reversal. It is unnecessary to determine upon what specific
evidence the jury based its decisions; we look only for sufficient
evidence to support the finding. Appellant's nineteenth point is
Similarly, appellant's eighteenth point urges us
to perform the unnecessary and impossible task of reviewing the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the jury's determination the
no evidence exists which mitigates against the imposition of the
death penalty in his case.
The United States Supreme Court
has held that such a review is not required under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Pulley v.
Harris, 465 U.S. 37, 104 S.Ct. 871, 79 L.Ed.2d 29 (1984); Hughes v.
State, 897 S.W.2d 285, 294 (Tex.Crim.App.1994), cert. denied, 514
U.S. 1112, 115 S.Ct. 1967, 131 L.Ed.2d 857 (1995).
Moreover, to conduct such a review, we would
first have to determine that certain evidence is as a matter of law
mitigating, and we would have to presume that the evidence presented
was credible, that is, that the jury believed it, and we would have
to hold that appellant's “credible mitigating evidence” outweighed
the State's evidence against mitigation.
We are disinclined to declare any evidence
mitigating as a matter of law, or to usurp the jury's role of
discerning the credibility and weight of evidence; such a course
would violate the long standing principle governing the factfinder
and reviewing court's respective functions. We reiterate our prior
holdings that a review of the jury's answer to the mitigation issue
is inappropriate. Colella v. State, 915 S.W.2d 834, 841 (Tex.Crim.App.1995);
Hughes, 897 S.W.2d at 294. Appellant's eighteenth point is overruled.
Turning to the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting the jury's finding that appellant represents a continuing
threat to society, we find the evidence sufficient. In resolving
appellant's contention we look at all the evidence in the light most
favorable to the verdict to determine whether any rational trier of
fact could find all of the elements of article 37.071(b)(2) beyond a
reasonable doubt. Flores v. State, 871 S.W.2d 714, 716 (Tex.Crim.App.1993),
cert. denied, 513 U.S. 926, 115 S.Ct. 313, 130 L.Ed.2d 276 (1994).
The jury is entitled to consider all the evidence
admitted at both phases of trial when deliberating on the special
issues. Id. We have previously stated that the circumstances of the
offense, if severe enough, may alone be sufficient to support an
affirmative answer to the second special issue. Id. We may also look
for other evidence to support the jury's finding, such as character
evidence, extraneous offenses, or state of mind at the time of the
The evidence here established “a
most dangerous aberration of character.” Tucker, 771 S.W.2d at 527.
To support his cocaine habit, appellant was willing to brutally kill
relatives, friends, and neighbors. Evidence at trial established
that in the course of robbing Anderson, a distant relative for whose
murder appellant was tried here, appellant brutally bludgeoned and
stabbed him to death.
During the punishment phase of appellant's trial,
the State also introduced appellant's confessions to the equally
brutal murder of Melonee Josey, a friend and neighbor. Appellant
bludgeoned her to death with a meat tenderizer when she refused to
give him money but offered to pay him if he mowed her lawn. The
State also introduced appellant's confession of his assault with a
hammer upon Ola Mac Williams, a person of advanced years, who
refused to pay appellant for lawn work he had not performed.
Appellant committed these crimes in the course of
a few days and in each case he entered the victim's home as an
invited guest. These facts reveal a volatility and brutality
evincing a dangerous aberration of character from which a reasonable
juror could conclude that appellant possesses a continuing threat to
society.FN15 Appellant's seventeenth point of error are overruled.
FN15. See also Joiner v. State, 825 S.W.2d 701,
704 (Tex.Crim.App.1992), cert. denied, 509 U.S. 925, 113 S.Ct. 3044,
125 L.Ed.2d 729 (1993)(one victim was found to have been stabbed
four times in the chest and further received a series of lacerations
on her neck.
The other victim suffered forty-one stab wounds
to her chest, blunt force trauma to her head, lacerations to the
head, and, her throat had been slashed); Cass v. State, 676 S.W.2d
589, 593 (Tex.Crim.App.1984)(shocking circumstances of the offense
established continuing danger to society).
* * *
In his thirty-seventh and final
point of error, appellant argues that the trial court erred in
refusing to remind the jury in its punishment instructions that
appellant had pled guilty. Appellant argues that he was entitled to
this instruction because acceptance of responsibility is mitigating
evidence. Appellant presents no convincing argument or authority
supporting his contentions; he presents no error.
The trial court's mitigation instruction provided
a sufficient vehicle by which the jury could consider evidence
mitigating; the trial court was not required to argue appellant's
case for him. Point thirty-seven is overruled. The judgment of the
trial court is affirmed.
Matchett v. Dretke,
380 F.3d 844 (5th Cir. 2004) (Habeas).
Background: Defendant whose state court
conviction of robbery-murder was affirmed on direct appeal, 941 S.W.2d
922, petitioned for federal habeas relief. The United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Sim Lake, J.,
denied petition on procedural grounds, and defendant applied for
certificate of appealability (COA).
Holding: The Court of Appeals held that state
prisoner who sought to obtain federal habeas relief on claim
previously rejected by state court on independent and adequate state
procedural ground could not cite ineffective assistance of his state
habeas counsel as “cause” for his procedural default, not even with
respect to constitutional claims that could only be raised for first
time in state post-conviction proceedings. Application denied.
PER CURIAM: Petitioner-Appellant Farley Charles
Matchett, a Texas death-row prisoner (# 999060), seeks a certificate
of appealability (“COA”) to appeal the district court's dismissal of
his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus application on the ground that
his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are procedurally
FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
In 1993, Matchett pleaded guilty to the capital
murder of Uries Anderson by stabbing him and hitting him with a
hammer during a robbery. See Matchett v. State, 941 S.W.2d 922, 926
(Tex.Crim.App.1996). Following completion of the punishment
proceeding against Matchett, the jury answered three special issues
in the affirmative, and the trial court assessed a sentence of death.
Represented on direct appeal by
the same attorneys who represented him at trial, Matchett raised 37
points of error. Matchett, 941 S.W.2d at 926-41. In 1996, the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and death sentence,
rejecting most of the claims on the merits. See id. In 1997,
represented by newly appointed counsel, Matchett filed a state post-conviction
application summarily listing 72 individual grounds for relief. He
briefed but a few of these claims in a memorandum filed in support
of the application.
The state trial court adopted the respondent's
proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law and concluded that
most of the grounds for relief “were unsupported by argument and/or
authorities.” In 2001, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied
Matchett's post-conviction application, ruling that “[t]he findings
and conclusions by the trial court are supported by the record.”
Later that year, the federal district court
appointed a new attorney for Matchett so that he could file a 28
U.S.C. § 2254 habeas application. This attorney first filed a
successive post-conviction application in state court, however,
raising several claims of ineffective assistance of counsel that had
not been raised previously, viz., failing to investigate and present
a complete and accurate mitigation defense; failing to challenge the
admissibility of the rebuttal testimony of State psychological
expert, Dr. Walter Quijano, on the ground that the testimony was not
reliable; and advising Matchett to plead guilty, with the effect of
forfeiting his right to challenge the legality of his arrest and the
admissibility of his confession on direct appeal. In May of 2002,
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied this second post-conviction
application as an abuse of the writ.
Matchett then filed the instant 28
U.S.C. § 2254 application, raising the same claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel that had been raised in his second state post-conviction
application. He also contended that the trial court had issued an
unconstitutional jury instruction on intoxication when it “severely
limited” the jury's ability to consider and give effect to the
The respondent moved for summary judgment,
arguing that Matchett's ineffective-assistance claims were
procedurally defaulted, based on the Court of Criminal Appeals'
abuse-of-the-writ ruling, and that the intoxication-charge claim,
which had been raised on direct appeal, was procedurally defaulted
Matchett replied that he had “cause” for any
procedural default because the performance of his attorney during
his first state post-conviction proceeding was ineffective, in that
counsel failed to raise the ineffective-assistance claims during
The district court issued a memorandum and order
granting the respondent's summary-judgment motion and dismissing
Matchett's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 application. The court concluded that
all of Matchett's ineffective-assistance claims were procedurally
defaulted and that Matchett's assertion that counsel performed
ineffectively during his first state post-conviction proceeding did
not qualify as “cause” to excuse such default. The court also
concluded that the intoxication-charge claim was procedurally
defaulted. Matchett now seeks a COA from us.
* * *
C. Remaining Claims
Matchett does continue to assert his substantive
claims that trial counsel performed ineffectively by advising him to
plead guilty and by failing to investigate and present a complete
mitigation defense at the punishment phase. He acknowledges that
these claims were not presented to the state courts prior to their
inclusion in his second state post-conviction application; that the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that application to be an
abuse of the writ; and that the federal district court therefore
found the claims to be procedurally defaulted.
Matchett does not explicitly dispute the district
court's conclusion that the allegedly ineffective assistance of his
appointed attorney during his first state post-conviction proceeding
was not “cause” to excuse such procedural default. Rather, Matchett
emphasizes that Texas provides a statutory right to post-conviction
counsel for death-row inmates.
The procedural-default doctrine precludes federal
habeas review when the last reasoned state-court opinion addressing
a claim explicitly rejects it on a state procedural ground. Ylst v.
Nunnemaker, 501 U.S. 797, 801, 803, 111 S.Ct. 2590, 115 L.Ed.2d 706
When the state court relies on an independent and
adequate state procedural rule, federal habeas review is barred
unless the petitioner demonstrates either cause and prejudice or
that a failure to address the claim will result in a fundamental
miscarriage of justice. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750, 111
S.Ct. 2546, 115 L.Ed.2d 640 (1991). We have held that Texas's abuse-of-the-writ
rule is ordinarily an “adequate and independent” procedural ground
on which to base a procedural-default ruling. Henderson v. Cockrell,
333 F.3d 592, 605 (5th Cir.2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1163, 124
S.Ct. 1170, 157 L.Ed.2d 1208 (2004); Barrientes v. Johnson, 221 F.3d
741, 758-61 (5th Cir.2000).
“Cause is defined as ‘something external to the
petitioner, something that cannot fairly be attributed to him’ that
impedes his efforts to comply with the [state] procedural rule.”
Moore v. Roberts, 83 F.3d 699, 704 (5th Cir.1996) (citing Coleman,
501 U.S. at 753, 111 S.Ct. 2546).
“Cause” factors may include interference by
officials that makes compliance with the procedural rule
impracticable, a showing that the factual or legal basis for the
claim was not reasonably available to counsel, and ineffective
assistance of counsel-in the constitutional sense-on direct appeal.
Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 488, 106 S.Ct. 2639, 91 L.Ed.2d 397
(1986). If a petitioner fails to demonstrate cause, the court need
not consider whether there is actual prejudice. Rodriguez v. Johnson,
104 F.3d 694, 697 (5th Cir.1997).
We have repeatedly held that ineffective
assistance of state habeas or post-conviction counsel cannot serve
as cause for a procedural default. See, e.g., Henderson, 333 F.3d at
606; Martinez v. Johnson, 255 F.3d 229, 239-41 (5th Cir.2001) (and
citations therein); Beazley v. Johnson, 242 F.3d 248, 271 (5th
Cir.2001). Matchett does not question this.
A state prisoner has no constitutional right to
an attorney in state post-conviction proceedings and thus cannot
claim ineffective assistance of counsel in such proceedings.
Martinez, 255 F.3d at 239 (citing Coleman, 501 U.S. at 752, 111 S.Ct.
2546); see Coleman, 501 U.S. at 757, 111 S.Ct. 2546 (“Because [petitioner]
had no right to counsel to pursue his appeal in state habeas, any
attorney error that led to the default of [petitioner's] claims in
state court cannot constitute cause to excuse the default in federal
Contrary to Matchett's suggestion, a state
prisoner may not cite the ineffective assistance of state habeas
counsel as “cause” for a procedural default even for “cases
involving constitutional claims that can only be raised for the
first time in state post-conviction proceedings.” Martinez, 255 F.3d
Finally, on at least two occasions, we have
rejected contentions like Matchett's that Texas's statutory
provision of post-conviction counsel to death-row offenders requires
that the post-conviction process must comply with the Due Process
Clause. Ogan v. Cockrell, 297 F.3d 349, 357 (5th Cir.), cert. denied,
537 U.S. 1040, 123 S.Ct. 582, 154 L.Ed.2d 464 (2002); In re Goff,
250 F.3d 273, 275-76 (5th Cir.2001) (addressing motion by death-row
offender to file successive 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas application).FN1
FN1. Matchett cites Welch v. Beto, 355 F.2d 1016,
1020 (5th Cir.1966), for the proposition that the invocation of “
‘Texas statutes granting post-conviction hearings' ” gives a federal
habeas petitioner “ ‘the right to be tried according to the
substantive and procedural due process requirements of the
Fourteenth Amendment.’ ”
In Goff, we stated that Welch had been overruled
by the Supreme Court insofar as Welch implied that Texas post-conviction
applicants had a due-process right to effective assistance of
counsel, re-emphasizing that “ineffective assistance of counsel in a
post-conviction proceeding cannot serve as cause to excuse
procedural default in a federal habeas proceeding.” Goff, 250 F.3d
Matchett has failed to demonstrate that jurists
of reason would find it debatable that the district court erred in
ruling that his substantive claims were procedurally defaulted. See
Slack, 529 U.S. at 484, 120 S.Ct. 1595. Accordingly, Matchett's
application for a COA is DENIED.