Sunday, December 11, 2005


Sunday, December 11, 2005 -

With all the controversy over the impending execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder of the L.A. street gang the Crips, who is on death row for multiple murders, it's noteworthy that the story of another black man facing execution is not making the headlines. In this case, the state is Mississippi, and the man on deathwatch is Cory Maye.

With the exception of libertarians Radley Balko, blogging at the Agitator, and Steve Gordon at Hammer of Truth, there is almost nobody in the media ranks who seems to care. Meanwhile, Maye's story is far less convoluted than Williams' sordid tale. According to both Balko and Gordon, the man was minding his own business, asleep in his bed with his baby daughter in her crib, when several armed men stormed his door and entered his Prentiss, Miss. home, one night in December, 2001. In fear of his life and those of his family, Maye raised a gun and shot one of the intruders, seriously wounding him. After a bit more struggle, during which the other intruders identified themselves as police officers, Maye surrendered and was taken into custody, while his home was searched for illegal drugs.

As it turned out, the troops were looking for Jamie Smith, the man who lived on the other side of the duplex, suspected of drug dealing, and had stormed the wrong door. Nobody among the officers on the scene had even been made aware that the property was occupied by more than Smith himself, and they assumed the other door was only a side entrance to the house. Unfortunately, the officer Maye shot ended up dead; more unfortunately for Cory, who is black, the officer was not only a white man in Mississippi, but the son of the local police chief.

According to the stories by both sources, the trial featured an incompetent defense attorney, an all-white jury and a prosecutor who played fast and loose with the rules of courtroom conduct. Maye was convicted of first-degree murder of a police officer, and sentenced to be executed. Appeals since then have only served to delay the process. At no time has the fact that this man was merely protecting his home from invaders been taken seriously, even though Mississippi law does allow such self-defense as a justification for killing someone.

Attempts to appeal the jury's decision have been unsuccessful, perhaps also hampered by the shortcomings of his legal counsel. The latest word on the situation is that Cory Maye is due to be executed by lethal injection, unless Governor Haley Barbour can be convinced to intervene on his behalf with a pardon, or failing that a reduction in his sentence. Steve Gordon ends his coverage with an e-mail link for the Governor, at:

in hopes that at least some readers will do what they can to convince Barbour to rectify this tragic miscarriage of justice.

From Free Market News

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