The Troubling Case of Cory Maye:
Kieran Healy points to an emerging blog movement concerning the very troubling case of Cory Maye, who is on death row in Mississippi for killing a police officer.

  The remarkable part of the case is that it seems pretty likely that Maye was acting in self-defense. The police broke into Maye's apartment at night while executing a warrant for drugs, but apparently they had the wrong apartment. Specifically, the police didn't realize that the apartment had been divided into two units, and — at least according to blog reports — Maye was in one and the drugs were in the other.

  According to Maye's testimony at trial, as reported in the Hattiesburg American on Jaunary 23, 2004, Maye had no idea that the people breaking in to his apartment were cops, and shot the intruder to protect his young daughter:
  Cory Maye, 23, said he was asleep on a chair in the living room of his Prentiss apartment as his 14-month-old daughter slept in the bedroom when he heard a loud crash at his front door.
  "I immediately ran to my daughter's room, got a pistol, put in a magazine and chambered a round," said Maye, who is on trial for capital murder in Marion County. "As I laid on the floor by the bed, I heard kicks at the back door. I was frightened, I thought someone was trying to break in on me and my daughter."
  ;Maye 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."
  How could this have led to the death penalty, you're wondering? Well, first of all, I gather that the jury didn't believe Maye's story. Presumably they believed that Maye knew that he was killing an officer who was executing a warrant against him. Whether there was any evidence supporting that belief is unclear; the fact that the police didn't find the drugs in the apartment suggests that this story is pretty hard to believe. The case is now on appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and I hope that court will take a very close look at the evidence.

  Second, the officer Maye shot and killed turned out to be the son of the local chief of police, who was a fourth-generation police officer. The local prosecutor in turn pushed for capital murder charges. (Lots of bloggers are also pointing out that Maye is black and the officer was white, although my recollection of the Baldus study is that the race of the victim and defendant generally aren't believed to exert a strong impact on the likelihood of capital punishment in extreme cases — and I think this counts as an extreme case.)

  The MSM hasn't paid any attention to this story, but it should. And I hope the Mississippi Supreme Court will be paying lots of attention, too. For more on the story, visit The Agitator, which has been leading the charge on this case.