Cory Maye vs. Sgt. Joseph Chavalia

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

A comparison of what happens to frightened citizens who shoot at threats they can’t see during a drug raid vs. what happens to frightened police officers who shoot at threats they can’t see during a drug raid.

You could substitute Ryan Frederick or Derrick Foster (among others) for Cory Maye. And you could substitute Dep. Christopher Long and a whole host of others for Chavalia.

Police who make mistakes during drug raids get suspended with pay, and ultimately vindicated. Citizens who make mistakes during drug raids go to jail.

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6 Responses to “Cory Maye vs. Sgt. Joseph Chavalia”

  1. #1 |  ktc2 | 

    Side by side the difference is nauseating.

    Our police are out of control and more danger to us than most of the “criminals”.

  2. #2 |  Bronwyn | 

    [paraphrase] If the judge had given the Maye jury similar instructions to what was given to the Lima jury, we wouldn’t even know Cory Maye’s name

    Ain’t that the damned truth! Much as I care about the man, much as I consider him a friend, I wish I didn’t know him.

  3. #3 |  nobahdi | 

    Was anyone else not aware that negligent homicide is a misdemeanor? And Chavalia only faced 8 months in jail if convicted?

  4. #4 |  T.Mike | 

    What’s truly appalling is how few people care. And how quickly they forget when they do hear about these things happening. This is a sad, sad situation.

  5. #5 |  supercat | 

    I know nothing about Officer Jones beyond what I’ve read here, but if I were on Maye’s jury and saw the documentation upon which the search warrant was issued, I would have commended Cory Maye for shooting a robber (and consequently acquitted him); if I had my druthers, others involved in the raid would be prosecuted for Officer Jones’ murder (under the Felony Murder rule).

    Per Article VI of the Constitution, any government action which violates the Constitution is illegitimate. Per Amendment IV, search warrants may only be issued on the basis of an oath or affirmation, relating personal knowledge of the affiant sufficient to constitute probable cause. The only oath-backed personal knowledge in the warrant for Cory Maye’s dwelling was a vague observation that the place seemed to get an unusual amount of traffic. Since Officer Jones applied for the warrant personally, he should have known about its basis or lack thereof.

    To be sure, many police and judges don’t seem to care about whether information in a warrant affidavit relates personal knowledge of the affiant, but to accept non-sworn hearsay in a warrant affidavit would be to render the “oath or affirmation” requirement meaningless. If Bob swears that he saw drugs in someone’s house, and it can be proven that Bob could not have seen what he claimed, Bob can be prosecuted for felony perjury. If Joe swears that Bob told him about seeing drugs, though, no perjury claim is possible even if Bob is maliciously lying, nor even if Joe knows Bob is lying (since he’s swearing that the statement was made by Bob, not that it is true).

    To be sure, if judges actually followed the Constitution it would be harder for police to get warrants. I can’t see any reason to think that would be a bad thing, though. Having actual witnesses filing affidavits should help cement good cases and weed out bad ones.

  6. #6 |  supercat | 

    Was anyone else not aware that negligent homicide is a misdemeanor? And Chavalia only faced 8 months in jail if convicted?

    Negligent homicide would imply that one acted without malice toward anyone, but either did something a prudent person would not have done, or failed to do something a prudent person would have done, in such a fashion as to cause someone’s death.

    The next higher crime would be reckless homicide, which would imply that one acted with wanton disregard for other people’s safety.

    I could vaguely comprehend an argument that the cop who fired through the wall wasn’t trying to actually hit anybody, but was hoping that firing gunshots through the wall would cause the person on the other side to take cover. Such an argument, if believed, might justify reducing the charge from murder to reckless homicide. I would frankly find it hard to believe such a claimed motivation, nor can I see any way that someone with any regard for human life could deliberately fire a gun in any direction without knowing that there were no innocent people downrange, nor could I see any way the cop could have had a reasonable belief that there were no innocent people downrange.

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