Help Wanted: The Cory Maye Story Needs Legs

The official version seems to be that Cory Maye is a black man sitting on death row in Mississippi for killing a white cop during a drug raid gone bad. Thanks to Radley Balko (and now the blogosphere), a new version of the same story might save Maye’s life.

Balko is doing a great job so far in taking the lead investigative role on this issue, but others are piping in with important observations or information. As a result, an article like the hypothetical one below could be the end result. Please note that I am making suggestions not based on established facts at this time, but merely one of many possibilities of how the story might turn out.

Mississippi Governor Barbour fully pardoned convicted murderer Cory Maye this afternoon. In a statement released by the Governor’s office, Barbour is quoted as saying: “Maye’s appeal isn’t yet scheduled, but I see no reason to keep an innocent man behind bars for years while the justice system sorts this out. Therefore, I am immediately exercising my authority as Governor of the State of Mississippi to pardon Mr. Maye so he can return to a more normal life with his friends and family.”

Maye had been originally found guilty of capitol murder for the death of Prentiss police officer Ron Jones. Maye was awakened during a no-knock search and shot at Jones in defense of himself and his 18 month old daughter. The warrant had been issued based on information presented by a yet unidentified informant indicating that someone at the premises was involved in illegal drug trade. At the time of the incident, Maye held a spotless criminal record, and no illicit drugs (or perhaps trace residue?) were found at the scene.

He had previously testified that it was dark in his apartment when he heard someone breaking into the back door, which was located in the bedroom. “That’s when I fired the shots,” Maye said. “After I fired the shots, I heard them yell ‘police! police!’ Once I heard them, I put the weapon down and slid it away. I did not know they were police officers.”

Convicted in January 2004 of capitol murder, Maye was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Bloggers initiated further investigation into the details of the shooting, arrest and conviction. This culminated in a firestorm of activity across the Internet, which in turn led to significant national news coverage. The media pressure caused local and state officials to take a fresh view of the case.

“Cory will be released tomorrow morning,” said Jane Doe, who is Maye’s new attorney. “They are already outprocessing him, and Cory told me all he can think about is being able to hug his daughter once again.”

This possible outcome (or one like it) can happen if you become involved. As more information becomes available, it is important that each of us does our part to help spread the word so that justice may eventually be served. Because he has the ability to act quickly on the matter, one suggestion has been to directly contact the Governor of Mississippi.

One example of such a letter is here, and another was e-mailed to me by Steve Trinward:

Dear Governor Barbour – I am not one of your constituents, only a neighbor from Tennessee, but I URGE you to give careful consideration to granting a full pardon, or at very least a commutation of sentence, to Cory Maye – a man who is about to be put to death for merely attempting to defend himself and his baby daughter from unknown intruders. If we do not affirm this right to self-protection, we have lost the entire foundation for claiming to be in any way a free society here in America! While I recognize the tragedy of the death of the police officer in this 2001 incident, the night after Christmas, nothing will be gained by executing this man now, and a great deal could be gained by setting him free to resume what is left of his life.

Another thing we can do is to create the blogospheric firestorm required to spur the mainstream media into action. This is an issue where red, blue and all shades of purple (or even black) can work together. Battlepanda encourages us to do this with:

Let’s make this a competition. I am going to keep track of right and left wing blogs mentioning the Cory Maye to see which side is doing a better job.

If you have a blog, I’d highly encourage you to cover the issue so we can get the word out. Please make sure Battlepanda is aware of your posting. If you have new information or evidence on this case, Radley Balko would almost certainly welcome it. The life of a man who appears to be totally innocent is at stake, and we can be the ones who make the difference.

As the main stream media is not reporting on this case at this time, the best single source of information is available at Balko’s website. There are new updates (1, 2, 3) this morning, and it looks as if we might expect more information sometime today.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mojo, upcoming radio coverage on the issue is in da mix:

And as an aside, this is going to be the lead story on our radio show this saturday morning…KUCI 88.9 FM in Orange County, CA, or listen live at We go on about 8:25 a.m. or so…

UPDATE 2: Balko has posted .pdfs of the relevant warrant documents on his site. I’ve got a meeting to attend, but will read them when I get back.

UPDATE 3: Tom Knapp wrote a letter which is published here.

UPDATE by Nicholas Sarwark:Orin Kerr of The Volokh Consipracy has picked up on the story here.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I’ve posted it on my blog, FWIW, and on the Hannity blab board. I also fw’ed this link to a local radio host, the morning guy on our local talk-radio outlet, and I don’t know what he’ll do with it, but I hope it helps.

  2. I even went on Richard Bey’s *cough* gab-board and posted the two recent links from here and Balko’s site. Let’s see those leftists at Bey’s *cough* politics discussion take note… heh.

    Is Boortz in on this? Should be right up his alley.

  3. I sent links to O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, and Boortz, but I can’t get the Barbour e-mail link to come up. “We’re sorry, but…”

    I wonder if it’s because of this story?

  4. Got it, Steve. Thanks. Let’s keep stirrin’ the puddin’ on this one.

    Where can I find newspaper stories, or anything? I’m going google-eyed here… no pun intended.

  5. Kewith,

    I’ll continue to cover it. Going to call a talk radio host friend about it today, too.

  6. This man most likely honestly thought that he was shooting armed robbers. If the police failed to declare themselves properly, or left any doubt that they might be police officers, he should be let off; he killed who to the best of his knowledge had entered his home without his consent with intent to deprive him of life or property.

  7. Well since the warrant was issued for a different residence… cop or no cop this is forcible entry, and illegal on the law enforcement side of the fence. Am I wrong!?

    4th Amendment

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    I do believe that covers it in a nutshell…

  8. Interesting graphic StopHurtingAmerica whereas it may be a little over the top for me. Perhaps others will see it as the “finger point” at the judicial system in Mississippi I think you meant it to be…

  9. Just for grins, I went to the NAACP, ACLU, and CourtTV websites and typed “Cory Maye” into their search engines.

    Bupkis. Nada. Not a sausage. Zero hits.

    I wonder why I’m surprised…

  10. Angelica at the BattlePanda weblog suggested to me that we needed a way to keep the Cory Maye story alive. She lamented the fact that in the blogosphere stories are forgotten as soon as they slide off the front page. She suggested that some buttons (icons) should be created that bloggers could put in their sidebars to link to a site focused on the issue. My friend Laura Denyes, a talented graphic designer, donated her skills to come up with a few buttons, which we’ve placed on this page:

    We urge people to choose the one they like and put it in the sidebar of their weblogs, so attention stays on this story. We’re happy to host the images ourselves and the bandwidth issues that arise will simply be part of our donation to this cause. But please do link.