Cory Maye Gets a New Trial!

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’ll have details in a bit.

But this is wonderful news.

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61 Responses to “Cory Maye Gets a New Trial!”

  1. #1 |  pegr | 

    Hey, somebody has to post here.

    As to keep the post on topic…

    That sounds great!

  2. #2 |  Gary | 

    Awesome news! Can’t wait to hear more!

  3. #3 |  Bryan | 

    AWESOME! Congrats to the Maye legal team and to Radley for all the hard work. You guys have changed Cory’s life. Thank you!

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    Radley, this is great.

    Thank you once again for all your work on the case.

  5. #5 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    At some point soon, I’ll get around to saying how much credit Radley gets for all his work on Cory’s case.

    For now, if you want to read the opinion, you can find a copy of the ruling here.

  6. #6 |  Marty | 

    hopefully, he can get his life back. you deserve a pulitzer (or emmy or oscar or nobel or whatever else they might pass out for outstanding journalism) for this!

  7. #7 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Let me be the 7th to say congratulations!

  8. #8 |  David McElroy | 

    Wow. I am truly shocked. I assumed the court would just rubber stamp the previous result. This is a great day for justice in Mississippi — and there haven’t been too many of those. Congrats to Radley Balko and to all who have played a role in trying to overturn this injustice. It’s one of those very rare victories that make you have at least a LITTLE hope that things can change.

  9. #9 |  Mister DNA | 

    I’m very happy for Cory Maye, but I’d like to add that I’m also happy that Radley Balko has done so much to discredit the “Libertarians-only-care-about-rich-white-people” smear.

    In no way am I trying to deflect from Mr. Maye’s victory; I just felt it needed to be said.

  10. #10 |  J sub D | 

    YAY! Please keep us posted, thanks.

  11. #11 |  Zargon | 

    The opinion rejects that there was any problem with Hayne’s testimony, and that there was any problem with the search warrant, ordering a new trial only because the venue was not changed back to Jefferson Davis County.

    I suppose it’s better than nothing. The defense might have a shot at better attacking Hayne this time around, due to more evidence against him being uncovered – if the trial judge will let him present that evidence, and if the jury even gives a shit. Two ifs I wouldn’t bet a dime on. Too bad Cory has to bet his life on them, and the opportunity to do so is better than the alternative.

  12. #12 |  Thom | 

    If there’s going to be a new trial does that mean the death penalty is back on the table?

  13. #13 |  Greg N. | 

    Congratulations, Radley! Wonderful, wonderful news. Can’t wait to tell my students (but I’ll wait for the details).

  14. #14 |  Andrew Williams | 

    14th to say congrats to all involved!

  15. #15 |  John Jenkins | 

    The appeals court can’t really say anything about Hayne without reopening a lot of cases (which may be the right thing to do, but the court is not going to want that to happen).

    The reversal on the improper venue is pretty good, but I will have to go back and look at the 2006 ruling to figure out whether the DP is back on the table. Since the judgment was reversed, and the jury did not reject the DP, I think the prosecution can ask for it again.

    Getting this back in front of a trial court isn’t a bad outcome, but it is likely the trial court will find the same way unless the defense can get the judge to rule out murder as a matter of law (which seems unlikely).

    The best *likely* outcome here is that the prosecutor and the defense get together and agree to manslaughter and time served. I think an acquittal is very unlikely (and before anyone haves a cow, I am not saying I think it’s unwarranted, but warranted and likely are not the same).

    I am looking for the opinion now.

  16. #16 |  jet | 

    Outstanding! Since I’m seething over news completely unrelated to the subject of this blog, seeing some good news is just what I needed. WTG Radley and congratulations, Cory Maye!

  17. #17 |  Andrew S. | 

    Reading the opinion, I like the result, but I don’t like the opinion itself. It turned very narrowly on the venue issue. It made the ridiculous argument that Hayne’s testimony was fine, but even if it wasn’t, it doesn’t matter, since it wasn’t germane to the case. It excused the prosecutor’s statements in his closing arguments.

    But that being said, he does get a new trial, which is incredible. Hopefully with better attorneys, venue back in the correct county and knowledge known now about Dr. Hayne, this case will be brought to its proper conclusion and Mr. Maye can go back home to his family.

  18. #18 |  John Jenkins | 

    It’s case No. 2007-KA-02146-COA.

    You can find a link to the PDF here:

  19. #19 |  MikeZ | 

    I wonder if the new defense team could get a couple of golden retrievers certified by the same clown college that certified Hayne. That could provide some powerful rebuttal testimony.

  20. #20 |  Delmuir | 

    Absolutely fantastic news but, and I don’t want to be a downer, what are the odds that he gets the acquittal he deserves?

    I’m rooting for him. Hopefully the people of Mississipi will step up and do the right thing.

  21. #21 |  John Jenkins | 

    @MikeZ: Not in front of the jury, you couldn’t, at least not without telling the judge first. It would be good to have during the Daubert/Kumho hearing to qualify the expert, though, as a way to attack his credentials. Still, it’s the kind of grandstanding you’re better off not doing.

    Does anyone know whether Mississippi has adopted rules similar to the FRE and, if so, whether they adopted the 2007 Amendments to Rule 702?

  22. #22 |  mark robbins | 

    Kudos for your hard work on this Radley and for attempting to post something uplifting for once.


    This judgment is in favor of Maye in one and only respect:

    That the trial judge erroneously refused his request to hold the trial in the county where the crime took place.

    On every other matter, jury instructions, expert testimony, cruel and unusual punishment, etc. they ruled against. And hard. I don’t see how the same facts in a different county is going to play any differently. I hope I’m wrong.

    I’m really glad that he’s getting another trial, but I put the odds of acquittal at least 10:1 against.

  23. #23 |  John Jenkins | 

    Different lawyers, different evidence, different court. I think an acquittal is very unlikely, but you have to understand that an appeals court is largely bound by the determinations of a trial court.

    You’ll read opinions and see phrases like “abuse of discretion” a lot. That is a high, high standard, particularly for evidentiary decisions. Just because the appeals court said things were fine based on the record in a particular trial does not mean that the same case in a different court won’t produce different results at trial and on appeal. This trial court will hear a lot more about Dr. Hayne and will likely have more motivated, higher quality lawyers on the defense side (and probably more of them).

    For people who aren’t lawyers, a lot of this is arcane bullshit, and to some degree it *is* arcane bullshit, but the fact that Cory Maye now has many lawyers (versus one lawyer) reviewing his case and thinking about it increases his chances of acquittal substantially.

    I don’t know how other careers work in that regard (I know in retail, more people are often an impediment to success), but when, in my firm, we can add more brains, we get a better product. Even when we argue about stuff (which, as lawyers, we do a lot), in the end, those who can marshal the better arguments win out, and the end product is that much better.

    A lot of the time, a re-trial doesn’t get you much. I think it’s worth more here than normal, even though I think a negotiated conclusion is more likely than an acquittal.

  24. #24 |  Radley Balko | 

    Venue is huge in this case. Cory had a jury of 10 whites and 2 blacks the first time around. In Jeff Davis, where a new trial would be, the numbers will be close to reversed. Everyone in Jeff Davis county knows about this case, and the county is pretty much split down racial lines. Throw in that Cory this time will have not just competent, but top-notch legal representation (and with essentially unlimited funds), and I think his odds of acquittal increase substantially. In fact, Bob Evans has said that a Jeff Davis jury would at worst come back hung.

  25. #25 |  Chris in AL | 

    “In fact, Bob Evans has said that a Jeff Davis jury would at worst come back hung.”

    That’s racist.

  26. #26 |  Chris in AL | 

    @#15 JJ

    Frankly, I think a deal for manslaughter and time served we be the quickest route to freedom for Corey.

    I know he keeps the undeserved criminal record and justice is not served by that, but it gets him out of jail. Another trial, during which he stays locked up, followed by the possibility that he is convicted again is a scary prospect. I think I’d take the deal.

    A part of me would very much like to see a groundbreaking reversal that resonates throughout the justice system. Another just wants to see a guy and his daughter, who have already suffered enough, get their lives back.

  27. #27 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    In reading the decision, the only reason Maye is getting a new trial was that the trial was not held in Jefferson Davis County. That is it. Dr. Hayne’s testimony was A-OK.

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    | Chris in AL | November 17th, 2009 at 6:16 pm
    @#15 JJ

    A part of me would very much like to see a groundbreaking reversal that resonates throughout the justice system. Another just wants to see a guy and his daughter, who have already suffered enough, get their lives back.

    +10, especially on that last. Getting Cory Maye home is the most important thing of all.

    He has gone through enough. While we would like, for our reasons, to see a full court victory on this, we have no right to ask him to take a dice roll on spending the rest of his life in jail.

  29. #29 |  Derek Ashworth | 

    Great news, mein freund. Now if you can gin up some hysteria about a crime wave or new drug craze, the Pulitzer would be yours! Guess you’ll just have to settle for justice. Good luck Cory!

  30. #30 |  Carl Drega | 

    Radley no matter what else you do for the rest of your life you will have this triumph to savor. I know others deserve a lot of credit, but you do as well. Today you are a hero.

  31. #31 |  Bill Anderson | 

    Believe me, Steven Hayne’s testimony will NOT be a factor in a new trial. Radley has tirelessly discredited this rotten POS and any attempt by the prosecution to bring this fraud into a courtroom is going to be shot down by a real-live defense team.

    Radley Balko is a hero, and I will challenge anyone who says differently. (And as many of my readers know, I do have the gift of sarcasm.)

  32. #32 |  Charles | 

    This is great, and as people have said before, Radley Balko deserves awards for this.

    I am too cynical; even on hearing good news like this, I am still filled with anger and sadness over injustices great and small.

  33. #33 |  Radley Balko | 

    Wish you were right, Bill. But if there’s a new trial, Hayne will almost certainly testify.

    Cory’s legal team may rake him over the coals and diminish his stature in front of a jury, but that’s assuming the trial judge would allow such a line of questioning. The state supreme court has as recently as April upheld Hayne’s status as an expert witness.

  34. #34 |  Tokin42 | 

    HOLY SHIT! Way to go to all involved, including Radley, and especially Cory. This is good stuff.

  35. #35 |  gDavid | 

    Wishing the best for Cory and team!!!!

  36. #36 |  Judi | 


    Now we have to work on the rest of the Hayne/West victims. You can help by signing my petition to get the state of Mississippi to re-open the Hayne/West cases:

    Radley, I’d like for you to speak at our rally in Jackson after the first of the year!

  37. #37 |  Francis | 

    Well Done!!! very well done indeed. you should feel very proud tonight.

  38. #38 |  BMB |–mayeappeal,0,2735181.story

  39. #39 |  BamBam | 

    Cory’s legal team may rake him over the coals and diminish his stature in front of a jury, but that’s assuming the trial judge would allow such a line of questioning.

    I’ve never understood (other than corruption) how anyone can accept a judge getting to determine what gets to be discussed as evidence and questioning as much as they do. Let the questioning occur, but monitor it to ensure the data is related to the case. Anything more is tampering with evidence, just as attorneys selecting juries based on their questions is jury tampering. The game is rigged to ensure The State gets the best chance at The Win.

  40. #40 |  pam | 

    YESSSSSSSSSSSS! The storm is passing over, Alleluia!!!!!

    (wit or witout Hayne?)

  41. #41 |  Guido | 

    Great news Radley. Keep up the good fight.

  42. #42 |  Gonzo | 

    Wonderful news. Good luck to all, and thanks Radley for keeping us all so informed.

  43. #43 |  All Libertarians Only Care About Taxes and White People § Unqualified Offerings | 

    […] that, right? Well Radley Balko’s Pulitzer-worthy journalism was the sine qua non of this. Or at least, his publicity-generating investigations mean that Cory Maye will now have a superb […]

  44. #44 |  Bill Anderson | 

    Good gosh! One only can hope that Hayne gets raked over the coals. In my view, the man should be arrested and tried and should face the same penalties that others have received because of his lies.

    I would like to say this is shocking, but given what I have seen and written about regarding Amerikan justice, it really is no surprise at all that a lying fraud like Steven Hayne is even permitted to step inside a courtroom at all. The only reason he should be in court is to be in the dock, period.

  45. #45 |  rangerjag | 

    To the non-attorney, this may not make sense BUT, Appeals Courts almost always choose the most narrow and technical and least offensive way to reverse a case. They may truly agree with many of the objections of the appealing party, but the safe way to reverse is to pick some innocuous way to reverse and not address all the controversial reasons. For one thing, it makes it easier to get the other judges to vote for the ultimate result (reversal) without buying into the substantive arguments. While no experienced trial lawyer will tell you they can predict a jury, having a top notch defense team and being able to analyze all the mistakes from the first trial can make a big difference. Also, anyone ignoring the racial aspect, which might work in Cory’s favor, is being PC, not living in the real world.

  46. #46 |  Disneychick | 

    This is wonderful news. Please keep us posted.

  47. #47 |  Lucy | 


    Keep up the good work and keep us informed, Radley.

  48. #48 |  Mona | 

    rangerjag, you are so correct. I wrote the brief in a winning appeal in the federal 2nd Cir., and at oral argument, my partner was asked by a panel member why the heck we didn’t appeal the evidentiary rulings. I wanted to scream. It was a civil case, and federal appellate courts reverse evidentiary rulings in civil cases, oh, maybe 1% of the time. (A federal district judge who wants to screw your civil case does it that way — by excluding your evidence.)

    We made the tactical decision not to appeal those horrific evidentiary rulings, since we concluded it could complicate or even prejudice our appeal. We got the new trial anyway (based on manifestly wrong jury instructions), so it did not end up mattering; we got a nice award for the client.

    Radley As others have noted, if you accomplished nothing more in your young life, this is so, so big and important. My respect for you is boundless.

  49. #49 |  Nick | 

    Change of venue.

  50. #50 |  the friendly grizzly | 

    What will Corey Maye’s life be like if indeed he’s found not guilty?

    What living hell do those with a vested interest in seeing him rot in a cell have planned for this man?

  51. #51 |  Frank | 

    #49 Police harassment on a daily basis is a given. He’s not going to be able to walk out his front door without a Terry Stop. And I wouldn’t put it past them to plant drugs in his home so they can get him in prison any way they can.

  52. #52 |  Billy Beck | 

    Good for you, Radley.

  53. #53 |  Bourgeois_Rage | 

    Good news!

  54. #54 |  Randy Richardson | 

    It seems that Dr. Hayne would have been reduced to irrelevance a long time ago had there been expert witnesses of stature to counter his testimony in the cases where he has testified.

    It also seems that if Mr. Maye’s current defense team have the resources to get such witnesses (the more the better), it will strike a blow for truth and justice.

    Tell me where I’m wrong. I’m definitely not a lawyer so I’m probably hopelessly naive.

  55. #55 |  Jane | 

    Randy – what you say seems reasonable. Unfortunately, jurors seem to have an affinity for charlatans.

  56. #56 |  Zargon | 

    Let the questioning occur, but monitor it to ensure the data is related to the case.

    This exact line of reasoning is what’s been used in the past to forbid evidence pertaining to Hayne’s incompetence.

    There was a case where Hayne was testifying, and the defense wanted to show that video (a difference case) where Hayne created teeth marks on the deceased with the suspect’s dental mold.

    The judge denied the request, saying it was a different case, and thus irrelevant, basically telling them to come up with video of Hayne manufacturing evidence in this particular case – or fuck off. I seem to recall that defendant was convicted, but I’m not sure.

    This case is going to be decided before opening arguments, at voir dire. Hopefully somebody in that room will have second or third hand experience with the local PD and be smart enough to not admit it.

  57. #57 |  Chance | 

    This case is what led me to this website, and while I’ve soured on other aspects of it (I hold a less favorable opinion of libertarianism than when I first visited) your work on this case is top notch, and deserves as every bit of praise.

  58. #58 |  supercat | 

    //Let the questioning occur, but monitor it to ensure the data is related to the case.//

    The problem is that judges will often claim evidence is “not relevant” precisely because it *IS* relevant–just not in the way they’d like. If someone is convicted in a jury trial, but would have been acquitted had the jury been aware of some fact the judge kept from them, the person was not convicted by the jury–the person was illegitimately convicted by the judge (in violation of the Sixth Amendment).

    If courts actually followed the Constitution, Cory Maye and Ryan Frederick would have been allowed to ask the jury to determine, among other things:

    -1- Bearing in mind that the jury may be aware of things a warrant- judge was not, did the police in fact have probable cause to believe that (a) a particular crime was committed, and (b) a search of the defendant’s particular premises would find some particular evidence of that crime.

    -2- Was the warrant issued on the basis of sworn statements which truthfully and non-deceptively related the personal knowledge of the person making them. Again, the jury may have information which the warrant judge does not.

    -3- Was the search conducted in reasonable fashion to justify risk or harm to persons or property. A warrant judge cannot be expected to have looked at this since the search won’t have been conducted until after his involvement was complete.

    Searches which do not comply with all three of the above requirements are illegitimate. People who illegitimately break into occupied properties with the intention of accosting anyone who might be inside are robbers, regardless of their employment.

  59. #59 |  John Jenkins | 

    @Supercat: I’m curious as to the source of your expert opinion on the rules of evidence in criminal trials. I won’t ask about your interesting constitutional theories. Just the rules of evidence.

  60. #60 |  AJP | 

    The interesting thing about Supercat’s observations is that questions of this sort will be presented to the jury any Cory Maye retrial, because all of the evidence concerning what appears to be fraud in procuring the search warrant can be introduced to negate the “official capacity” element of the capital murder charge. The Court of Appeals didn’t reach this issue, and it seems pretty apparent that the State would have a hard time excluding all of the defense’s evidence on a key element of the offense.

    I think there has been some confusion in the comments above about what the Court of Appeals actually said about the search warrant issue. The Court of Appeals rejected issue VII in Maye’s opening brief, which was the argument that the original warrant application on its face was insufficient to establish probable cause. The Court of Appeals (it appears quite deliberately) never ruled on issue VI, which is that the testimony obtained from the Gentry brothers shows that Ron Jones lied on the original warrant application, and Jones’s conduct in this regard is evidence that can be introduced to defeat the official capacity element of the capital murder charge.

  61. #61 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Cory Maye to Have a Second Chance at Justice | 

    […] With my busy work schedule as it is, I managed to miss the very encouraging news that Cory Maye will get a new trial! […]