Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cory Maye Death Sentence Thrown Out ...

To this blog's knowledge, we seem to be the only African American news outlet that has closely followed the egregious miscarriage of justice that occurred in Marion County, Mississippi, where now 25-year old Cory Maye was - by all accounts - wrongly sentenced to death for what appeared to be the accidental and fatal shooting of a White Prentiss police officer who stormed into Maye's duplex apartment on the evening of December 26, 2001. We've blogged about it (when everybody else seemed focus on freeing an admitted founder and leader of a notorious West Coast gang) and interviewed Radley Balko on a few occasions, the Cato analyst who first broke this story on his Agitator blog. It wasn't until Balko broke the story with copious research that Maye was finally able to get competent pro-bono legal representation after his first lawyer, Rhonda Cooper, dismally failed him after being reportedly "tired."

Maye - unaware until after the shooting that a police raid was taking place - was watching his 18-month old daughter and, in an immediate act of self-defense, fatally shot Ron Jones, who happened to be the son of the Prentiss police chief. Evidence later found that Prentiss police has actually raided the wrong apartment and that Maye did, indeed, act in self-defense of himself and his infant daughter. Still, he was sentenced to death by a jury of 10 Whites and 2 Blacks.

Balko's persistence and the first rate representation by counsel from law firm powerhouses such as Covington & Burling have now led to Maye's death sentence being thrown out and a new hearing being considerend. This is a major and promising development in that case. Albeit Jones' death was unfortunate and regrettable, blatant miscarriages of jurisprudence such as this can not and should not be tolerated.