20 December 2005 - Tuesday

Cory Maye is innocent

At Cliopatria, Ralph Luker is presenting what I consider prima facie evidence that Cory Maye's condemnation to death is a mockery of justice:

At Maye's apartment, the police officers attempted entry at the front door, before forcing their entry at the rear. Asleep in a bedroom with an infant daughter, Maye was awakened, thought someone was breaking into the apartment, and picked up his gun. In rapid succession, he fired three times. A bullet hit and killed the first officer to enter the back door, Ronald Jones. When other officers shouted "Police," Maye ceased firing and surrendered to arrest.

There is no evidence that Officer Ronald Jones even knew the identity of the person who occupied Maye's apartment. He knew so little about the occupants of the apartment he broke into that Cory Maye's name did not even appear on the warrant for the raid. Maye is an African American; Ronald Jones was white. Not only was Jones white, but he was the son of the Prentiss Police Chief, who has subsequently retired. Ronald Jones was not a regular member of the narcotics task force at Prentiss, but a member of its K-9 squad. Nonetheless, he alone conducted the investigation leading to the raid, kept no records of his investigation, and its findings died with him. At the time of Maye's arrest for murder, the arresting officers found no drugs in his apartment and he had no police record at all. Only days later, on re-examining Maye's apartment did officers find traces of marijuana in it. But in January 2004, a local jury of 10 white and 2 black people convicted Cory Maye of capital murder and sentenced him to death by lethal injection. Today, he sits on Mississippi's death row.

That op-ed is here, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution failed to publish it; so far, only bloggers seem to be covering the story. Luker says, "If we let his story die, [Maye] will."

Comment from The Agitator:

Facts in Dispute:

# Whether or not the narcotics task force sufficiently announced themselves and gave Maye time to peacefully answer the door before forcing entry.

# Where the drugs in Maye's apartment came from.

# Why the times listed on the evidence sheets for both Maye and Smith's apartments were repeatedly scribbled out. Why Maye's sheet lists no exact time the evidence was collected. Why the evidence in Smith's apartment was collected on the 26th, immediately after the raid, while the evidence in Maye's was apparently collected at 5:20am the next day (though again, that time was the last of three times entered, the first two being scribbled out to the point of being illegible).

# The legitimacy of the warrant for Maye's residence. It appears to have been issued solely on the word of a confidential informant, who says he spotted marijuana in the apartment. If the warrant was illegitimate, police should never have broken down Maye's door. If it was legitimate, they'd still have to have clearly announced themselves, and given Maye time to answer the door, for him to be guilty of capital murder.

# According to Maye's first attorney, two jurors told her after trial that Maye was convicted because (1) jurors resented Maye's attorney for suggesting in her closing argument that God would remember whether or not they'd shown Maye mercy when it came time for their judgment day, and (2) the didn't like Maye's upbringing -- they found him to be spoiled and disrespectful.

| Posted by Wilson at 14:43 Central
| Report submitted to the Power Desk