Man In YouTube Drunk Driving Confession Arraigned, Assigned Judge

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Matthew Cordle, 22, was arraigned on vehicular homicide and OVI charges.(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)
Matthew Cordle, 22, was arraigned on vehicular homicide and OVI charges.(Photo: Thomas Bradley / WOSU)

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Matthew Cordle, 22, is expected to plead guilty to felony vehicular homicide and OVI charges September 18 before Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Fais.

In his first court appearance, Cordle pleaded not guilty, Wednesday afternoon, in a procedural move. Judge Julie Lynch set his bond at $250,000.

Cordle’s attorneys had hoped a judge could have heard his case today, but no one was available. George Breitmayer represents Cordle.

“Obviously it would’ve been nice to get everything done today and wrapped up,” he said. “But the fact that we have a date certain that we can look forward to and know what he’d going to do on that date, I think that will bring Matt some sort of relief.”

Cordle became an instant media sensation after his video confession to killing a man in car accident after a night of drinking went viral.

It’s undecided whether Cordle will post bond. His attorneys earlier this week said he may as for bond to continue his outreach about the perils of drinking and driving.

“Not so that he can have some time off before he goes and serves a prison term,” Breitmayer said. “But if we found some outlets where it might be beneficial for him to continue spreading the message, and Matt was willing to do that, that would probably be the only reason why we would ask for bond in this case.”

Cordle appeared before Judge Julie Lynch Tuesday for a special arraignment, but it was abruptly continued after the judge learned Cordle decided to change his plea, a move Lynch said was made after both sides had agreed he would plead guilty before her.

“We are not going to take an arraignment, have somebody run downstairs, pick a new judge so that he can go get a sentence from another judge. That’s not how it works in this court,” Lynch said Tuesday.

Cordle’s attorneys refuted allegations they were trying to “judge shop” by pleading not guilty and having another judge drawn for the case. “Judge shopping” is banned by the courts.

“If he had pled guilty he would know his judge, thereby eviscerating the random judge assignment and making it appear as if he locked in a judge for a particular reason. That’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid,” Breitmeyer said.

In June, Cordle drove the wrong way on I-670 and hit Vincent Canzani, 61, of Gahanna, in a head on collision.

Investigators say Cordle’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. He faces two to eight-and-a-half years in prison.

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