Mississippi's forgotten "Genarlow Wilson" [Audio Clip from Air America Radio Included]
by redstatehatemonitor, Mon Jun 11, 2007 at 08:56:15 PM EDT
His name is Cory Maye and he too is a young African-American male whose life has been unfairly stolen from him. As impossible as it may seem his case may be even more unjust than Genarlow's simply because Cory was sentenced to death for an act of self defense. Besides racism Cory's sad tale involves the failed war on drugs, a no knock warrant, a poor legal defense team , an openly hostile very prejudice local news , paramilitary SWAT team ,an "anonymous" informant , an overzealous prosecutor , discrepancies in police and court records, as well as a host of other injustices.
The Cory Maye case is just about the ugliest saga of race, civil rights violations, nearly all white Southern juries and our criminal justice system that I can think of. This miscarriage of justice occurred in Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi. In a nutshell Cory Maye is an African American male who had no criminal record until he was unjustly condemned to death in Mississippi for shooting a police officer who broke down his door in the middle of the night looking for a drug stash that wasn't there. His case has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media. Cory Maye who is clearly a very innocent young man has been imprisoned since 2001 thats 6 long years my friends thats been stolen from this kid. If you missed the above audio clip Cory was also tortured and beaten by the cops.
Let's summarize: Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frigthened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by an a jury that was nearly all white. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid. Cory Maye is now on death row in Mississippi.
Immediately after the raid, police first said they found no drugs in Maye's apartment. Days later, they say they found a small bag of "allegedly marijuana," and three pieces of a burnt cigar, also containing "allegedly marijuana."Needless to say, this is suspicious. Later reports say police found a gram of marijuana ash, equal to a sixth of a teabag.
So let's re-sum what we know so far: Police broke down Maye's door at sometime after 11:30pm at night. He was alone with his daughter. He was not a drug suspect, nor were police authorized by the warrant to enter his home. Maye had no prior criminal record. And police said at the time that no drugs were found in his apartment, though they later say they found "traces" of marijuana and cocaine.
What is perhaps the most outrageous part of this unjust saga is when the Mayor fired Cory Maye's public attorney simply because he took the case to defend Cory. I guess they don't follow the Constitution too well in places like Prentiss Mississippi.
Cory Maye's first appeals attorney, a public defender, was fired after being told by Prentiss officials not to represent Maye.
According to [public defender Bob] Evans, Prentiss Mayor Charlie Dumas told him point blank that he was terminated for representing Cory Maye. In a phone interview, Mayor Dumas confirmed having a conversation with Evans, but declined to go into specifics. Calls to the town's aldermen weren't returned, or were answered with "no comment."
This doesn't inspire confidence in the justice system in Prentiss, Mississippi. Instead, it suggests that a man who was defending himself against a late-night intrusion into his home was railroaded. Yes, he had a jury trial. But when the American people are bombarded with drug-war propaganda all their lives and when the police in a small southern town testify about the fatal shooting by a black man of one of their own (a white cop), objectivity and cool-headedness are not to be expected. Maye had little chance of being exonerated.
Maye's case is an outrage. Prentiss, Mississippi clearly violated Maye's civil rights the moment its cops needlessly and recklessly stormed his home in the middle of the night. The state of Mississippi is about to add a perverse twist to that violation by executing Maye for daring to defend himself.
In the fall of 2006 Cory Maye was removed from Death Row after a judge ruled that he received incompetent legal representation during his sentencing phase.
Cory Maye needs help he could still be re-sentenced to death or he could be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole this young man who has already lost over 6 years needs to be set free because he is totally innocent. Bob Evan's is now back representing Cory however this time as a part of a top notch private legal team out of Washington D.C. that is providing him free counsel.
Cory Maye Justice Fund
c/o R.E. Evans
P.O. Box 636
Monticello, MS 39654
It must be noted that Radley Balko is the hero who saved an innocent man's life from ending on an executioners gurney in a Mississippi prison.
Cory Maye's case as well as that of Genarlow Wilson's is a classic example of what can happen when Racist's get together with other unsavory groups such as the Neo-Con's , Drug Warriors , as well as the Religious Right and take over the political control of a state or county.
Randy Balko is also the author of Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America which is about No-Knock Raids carried out by SWAT teams on non threatening mostly minor drug war targets.