December 13, 2005

We're not going to rant about racist justice in Mississippi ...

... since we have little doubt that defendants of color get the shaft regularly in pretty much any US state you can name. But the case of Corey Maye — currently on Mississippi's death row for killing a police officer — really seems to take the cake.

As we understand them, here are the essentials: In December, 2001, a drug raid was conducted in Prentiss, Mississippi. At about 11:30 pm, police raided both units of a duplex, one of which was the home of Corey Maye and his 18-month-old daughter. As they broke into Maye's apartment, one of the officers — Ron Jones — was shot and killed by Maye, who had just awakened. It's important to note that Maye is black and Jones was white. And that Jones' father is the police chief of Prentiss, Mississippi.

And there's more:

  • The warrant for the raid was issued on the basis of testimony from an unnamed informant, whose identity died with officer Jones. Maye was not named in the warrant and had no criminal record before the raid.

  • The police say that they announced themselves before breaking in to Maye's apartment. Maye says he had no idea that the people breaking in were cops, and that he fired at officer Jones out of fear for his safety and for that of his daughter.

  • Evidence sheets for both apartments in the raid appear to have been altered. Police reports of what was found in Maye's apartment range from 'traces' of illegal drugs to a single joint.

  • There are also questions about the quality of Maye's legal representation. His family hired two attorneys: the first of which appears to have been competent, but lacked experience in death-penalty cases; the second of which has failed to file for appeals in a timely manner.

  • At least two jurors [from the almost all-white jury that heard the evidence] have apparently told Maye's first attorney that the reasons why the jury found him guilty had nothing to do with the evidence for his having committed the crime he was accused of.

Rodney Balko at The Agitator has been all over Maye's case since last week. You can read his initial post here, and important subsequent posts here, here, here, and here. [You might just want to read almost everything he's posted since Thursday the 8th if you want to really come up to speed.]

It's not hard to construct a scenario in which Maye is an innocent man, who was the victim of a legal railroading. At the least, his case deserves a re-hearing before he's executed. Especially interesting is the fact it isn't just the lefty blogosphere that finds this case troubling — even right-wing blogs such as Instapundit are pissed. [Battle Panda is keeping track of blog coverage of Maye's case. Her list is here.]

If the way Maye's case has been handled by Mississippi authorities disturbs you, you might want to write Governor Haley Barbour and suggest [politely] that his office intervene in the matter. Here are his various addresses:

P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150
Fax: 601.359.3741

We haven't been able to find an email address.

More: Here's the email:

Posted by Magpie at December 13, 2005 03:47 AM | Law/Justice | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

Thanks for the info. Particularly the email. A tale worthy of a tragic poet? The story isn't finished being written. Stay on it.

Posted by: The Heretik at December 13, 2005 05:48 PM

I oppose the death penalty but Tookie Williams is not why, he was a lousy poster child for the anti death penalty movement. If all the the effort that went into trying to save Tookie can be directed towards the Corey Maye that would be a very good thing.

Posted by: Ron In Portland at December 13, 2005 07:38 PM