Mississippi Supreme Court Grants Cory Maye a New Trial

The Mississippi Supreme Court granted Cory Maye a new trial today (PDF), though on different grounds than the Mississippi Court of Appeals, which granted the trial based on a change of venue issue. The state's supreme court instead ruled that Maye's trial judge should have let the jury consider a "defense of others" defense, and that the judge's refusal to include that in the jury instructions amounted to reversible error. The court also said that Maye's new trial can take place in Jefferson Davis County, which is what Maye wanted, and is where the incident took place.

As I understand it, this decision means Maye is virtually guaranteed a new trial next year unless there's plea agreement between his attorneys and the state.

My 2006 Reason feature on Maye here. And here's Reason.tv's documentary about Maye's case:

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  • Some Guy||

    That is good news. But I fear he'll be convicted again. In fact, I'm certain he will be.

  • Freedonian||

    The real problem with that is that he could be once again sentenced to death at a retrial! I am just thankful that there are some outstanding attorneys working on Cory's defense!

  • ||

    Good.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    Radley, it looks like your work is starting to pay off in a major way. Keep it up man; it is an invaluable asset.

  • ||

    THIS^^

  • Wind Rider||

    Excellent news.

  • ||

    On The Agitator dsmallwood has asked if there is a legal defense fund.

    If Radley has the information and will post it here, I am sure a lot of Reason readers would like to contribute.

  • ||

    Winning a conviction years after the crime for a second time is very difficult. I bet they offer him a plea deal and he walks. Yeah, he shouldn't have to plead to anything. But I thinking he will gladly get out of jail rather than risk another death sentence. And I am sure the prosecutors want this case to go away without risking an acquittal.

  • Virginia||

    Prentiss is a small town of 1300 that's 80% white. Jefferson Davis County is 13,000 pop that's 57% black. I'm expecting a plea.

  • ||

    It is absolutely outrageous the trial was ever moved. The defendant should always have a right to be tried where the crime occurred. You change venues at the defendant's request not the prosecution's.

  • Weasel Stout||

    "The defendant should always have a right to be tried where the crime occurred."

    No crime occured other than the no-knock raid.

  • Col Hogan||

    Weasel, yours is the best comment so far!

  • ||

    The original trial was moved because Maye's utterly incompetent attorney at the time requested it to be moved.

  • Virginia||

    Maye is now represented by Bob Evans, the original public defender in the case. Evans is the public defender for Jefferson Davis County, and was concurrently the public defender for the town of Prentiss, seat of Jefferson Davis County, until January 10, 2006 when he was fired by the Prentiss Board of Aldermen. According to the mayor of Prentiss, Charles Dumas, Evans' dismissal was directly related to his representation of Maye.

    Can someone embellish a little on the above tidbit from wikipedia explaining Evans' firing as Prentiss public defender?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Read Radley's 2006 piece on the case, linked above.

  • Virginia||

    In December 2005, as Evans was preparing Maye’s appeal, he received a phone call from Prentiss Mayor Charlie Dumas, who is close to Officer Ron Jones’ family. Dumas told Evans that several of the town’s aldermen had expressed concern about his decision to handle Maye’s appeal. Although representing an indigent defendant on appeal was Evans’ job as the town’s public defender, Dumas told Evans he could lose that job if he continued to act as Maye’s attorney. Evans ignored the threat.
    Six weeks later, in January 2006, Dumas called Evans with the news that Prentiss had fired him as its public defender. Evans says Dumas explicitly cited his representation of Maye as the reason for his termination. “I have officially been Prentiss public defender since February 1995, and unofficially for several years prior,” Evans says. “During that time there hasn’t been a single official complaint communicated to me about my performance.”
    Dumas told me in a phone interview that his conversations with Evans were private, and that I should ask the town’s aldermen why they fired him. Sylvia Ward, the only alderman to return my calls, said she wasn’t allowed to give the reason, and suggested I get a copy of the minutes from the meeting. The minutes only note the motion to fire Evans, which was passed unanimously. They offer no reason for the motion.

  • Tman||

    Could this be a Balko post where I don't feel like I've just been donkey punched?

    I'm still skeptical.

    But as others have said, keep up the great work Balko, this is grade A stuff.

  • ||

    ""Could this be a Balko post where I don't feel like I've just been donkey punched?""

    He's pulling us into a false sense of security. Tommorrow he'll come out with something that will pound them like they are Rocky Moutain Oysters.

    I don't know if Cory Maye knows who Radley is, but I think Cory owes him many drinks.

  • DJK||

    I don't know if Cory Maye knows who Radley is, but I think Cory owes him many drinks.

    He sure might...

  • ||

    What good is being free if you and your kids are not free to eat what they want to? Kill the Food Police Bill! Call your legislators and ask them to vote against it, this is BULLSHIT! Get the govt out of my pantry!

  • ||

    I agree with Bill from STL (go Rams!). This bill is deeply troubling. They have already made enjoying cigs nearly unaffordable, and now they are trying to kill the love of food. I'm calling my congressman right now.

  • ||

    Don't get me started on cig prices! I've been driving down to an outlet near Wickliffe Kentucky across from Cape Girardeau to stock up - super cheap by the carton. They have signs up saying that it's a crime to transport them back.

    First they came for our cigs, and now they're coming for our food. 1984. This is a fucking police state! This is bullshit! 2 more years though right and then hopefully people will have woken up enough to kick BHO's dumb ass out.

  • Ska||

    E-cigarettes.

    Cigarettes are $12.75/pack where I live. A 3 - 4 week bottle of e-juice is $25.

    And e-cigs are actually healthier, taste better, can be vaped indoors, and don't have the other common drawbacks of cigarettes.

    Just sayin'.

  • Keith||

    Man, that is great news. Thank you.

    Where do you live? I've love to pay $12.75/pack.

  • ||

    Look, we agree that that bill is bad, but you're being an idiot and a jerk, and your posts are painful to read.

    There have been multiple posts on Hit & Run slamming that bill; you don't need to bitch about it in every other post.

    You're making me sincerely fear that the food safety bill and others bills like it will be easier to pass, since those opposing it will be portrayed as the idiot caricature that you seem to personify.

  • ||

    Good news!

    Now can we try and execute all those involved in his conviction?

  • Steve||

    I never imagined that one story could PISS ME OFF in 15 different ways!

    Gotta agree with those above; Good job, Mr. Balko.

  • John-David||

    Thank you, Radley. Considering all the local news here is in regards to LeBron James returning tonight, this is a nice, no, wonderful, counterpoint and renews a little bit of my faith in justice.

  • James J.B. n.k.a McMillon ||

    Ok, here's my reason fan fiction of the day...

    Scene - Reason Board room - I picture it much like the Legion of Doom on the old superfriends show. All the gang is there - including Gillespie in his trademark "leather blazer" (which may also be his superhero name but that is another fan fic) Balko walks in, Nick bellows, "Balko, you sonofab*tch" Balko, supprised and a bit frightened, struggles to respond...

    Suddenly everyone, Mangu Walker et al, rises and slowly begins clapping - then faster clapping til everyone is all smiles - even Balko...
    and then an alert springs up on the big board - SWAT team kills 50 puppies... Nick snarls angrily - back to work people...

    end scene

  • Jason||

    LOL... Reason comic book fanfic. :)

  • ||

    Time Served! Next Case!

  • DJK||

    Yeah, but then the conviction stands.

  • ||

    Yeah. I agree.

    But if it came to a choice between getting Coye Maye out of prison and "fighting to the last drop of his blood", I would reluctantly choose the former.

    In this kind of situation, I always Dreyfus' famous response to those who wanted him to reject the pardon he was offered "Je n'etait jamais un Dreyfusard."

  • ||

    he never should have been charged, but if he is re-tried there is a significant risk of another conviction (if they got him once, they can get him again), so it is a lot safer for him to take a deal that gets him out now

  • ||

    Wow. I just watched the whole video. It's sick.

    I hope he walks. It would be too much to have him not plead to anything.

    The most interesting part to me is how the sherrif's department and the police department testified separately - because one is predominately black, the other white.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The state's supreme court instead ruled that Maye's trial judge should have let the jury consider a "defense of others" defense

    It's never about getting at the truth, just about tricks and technicalities.

  • ||

    I dont like scummy niggers but I am on Cory Mayes side.
    Think about that before you start calling me a racist

  • PC Police||

    I think they prefer the term "Scummy People of Color"....

  • Tom on the Rez||

    As a Miss'ippian I say "Bravo, Radley. One down, one thousand to go.

  • ||

    This is one of those cases that has bothered me for years. Ironically, it was the imposition of the death penalty and the steadfast refusal of the various judicial officials of Mississippi to accept anything less than death for this man that has made it possible for Corey Maye to receive a second chance at justice. If he had been sentenced to life, or his sentence had been commuted, this case would not have gotten the attention it deserves and he would be almost certainly be spending the rest of his life in jail.

  • ||

    Bravo!

    I've been following this since it started. The man deserves a new trial, and more. He deserves a medal for defending his infant daughter unknown home invaders!

    You Go, Dad!

    Charlie

  • ||

    This has been a multiple tragedy so far; let's hope and pray the next jury realizes that this man has spent years of his life in jail for attempting to protect his daughter and his home.

  • Sigfried||

    Fantastic news, there may be justice in my home state at last! Bravo, Radley! Shine the light and watch the cockroaches run for cover!

  • Graham||

    Agreed. Radley should feel very proud of the work he's done on this case.

  • ||

    It's nice to see things go right for a change. Sadly, in the end I'm afraid Radley Balko has found a journalistic angle that is never going to dry up.

    I mean, I'm glad Radley covers these stories - but it's depressing that they ahppen in the first place.

  • Jeffersonian||

    You *know* what's going to happen now. There'll be a change in department policy, all right.

    *No more witnesses*.

  • ||

    Ok, so how do I contribute to his defence? I didn't before because I figured it was a lost cause, but since it's no long clear that injustice will triumph, how do I help?

  • pax||

    In a just world, Radley Balko would be getting a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Cory Maye story. Keep it up, sir!

  • The Tim Channel||

    Cory ought to be released and the state should compensate him heavily for the damage they've done to his life and family.

    Enjoy.

  • ||

    This is among the most important work journalists can do - exceptional stamina is needed to push an injustice like this because the vast majority of subjects (we are no longer citizens) never see the potential for this to be them. Way to go and lets hope and pray this man is exonerated and paid a few million for his suffering (it should come out of the pay of the cops, judges, and prosecutors rather than the taxpayers, but you can't have everything)

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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