Mississippi Supreme Court Grants Cory Maye a New Trial

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

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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60 Responses to “Mississippi Supreme Court Grants Cory Maye a New Trial”

  1. #1 |  dsmallwood | 

    is there a legal defense fund (or similar) for this new trial?

    i think its time for me to put some $$$ where my mouth is …

  2. #2 |  Aresen | 

    This is excellent news. I have no doubt that your hard work has helped make it possible, Radley.

    Also, what dsmallwood said, I’d like to contribute.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 


  4. #4 |  thom | 

    Can the prosecutor seek the death penalty at the new trial?

  5. #5 |  Bryan | 

    Great News! Congrats to the legal team and especially to you, Radley, for finding this case.

  6. #6 |  Andrew S. | 

    Echoing what Brian said. Congrats to you and Cory’s legal team.

    Hopefully by the time next Christmas rolls around, justice will have been served, and he will be home.

  7. #7 |  tb | 

    There are no winners here. This man has now spent 9 years in jail for a non-crime and his then-18-month-old daughter is now 10. He has missed his daughter’s childhood and seen a decade of his life evaporate all because some halfwit along for the thrill fucked up a warrant service.

  8. #8 |  TC | 

    This is good news.

    Huge hat tip to all involved, a bigger one to you Radley.

  9. #9 |  Sky | 


    Miracles do happen…especially when you least expect them!! Great Job Radley, you have helped make this all possible.

  10. #10 |  Matt | 

    Great news!

  11. #11 |  Cynical in CA | 


  12. #12 |  MassHole | 

    Hell Yeah!

  13. #13 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    @ #4 thom:

    “Can the prosecutor seek the death penalty at the new trial?”

    Short answer: Probably, depending on the nature of Mississippi capital sentencing proceedings (of which I know next to nothing). See:


  14. #14 |  shg | 

    A far more satisfying decision than the Court of Appeals. Congratulations.

  15. #15 |  Joe | 

    Radley, you saved a life.

    Thank you.

  16. #16 |  AJP | 

    The State is probably free to seek the death penalty again at a new trial, although it is not clear that they will.

  17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Not only are people listening to you, but you seem to be making a positive difference. In other words, you’ve already surpassed almost every politician on the planet as a contributor to civilized society. Not bad for such a young whippersnapper.

  18. #18 |  Gideon Darrow | 

    A hearty congratulations to Radley, Cory’s attorneys, and everyone else involved in making this happen (including, of course, Cory himself). It’s not over yet, but it’s a damn good start.

  19. #19 |  RomanCandle | 

    What a great early Christmas gift for Maye and his family. This wouldn’t have happened without you, Radley.

  20. #20 |  K9kevlar | 

    Don’t start sucking each other’s dicks just yet. The state has had plenty of time to fabricate what they need. And you live in a world where SOP is to destroy lives and families.

  21. #21 |  Leonson | 

    So what’s the most likely scenario at this point?

    Plea deal to a lesser charge resulting in time served? Acquittal?

  22. #22 |  dsmallwood | 

    “So what’s the most likely scenario at this point?
    Plea deal to a lesser charge resulting in time served? Acquittal?”

    well, if these prosecutors are like any others, no

    the magic phrase is “he killed a cop”

    therefore, maximum punishment, maximum destruction
    never admit mistakes, never admit defeat

  23. #23 |  JS | 

    dsmallwood “the magic phrase is “he killed a cop””

    Exactly! Because their lives are worth so much more than our own.

  24. #24 |  Bronwyn | 

    I’ve had a recurring dream over the past several years of reading about Cory and corresponding with him.

    We’re all there in Mississippi, clapping and cheering Cory as he walks as a free man. We’ll have to leave quickly, so he can be with his family, I suppose, but I want to hug him and tell him how much we care about him.

    I’ve borne so little hope all this time, it’s hard not to squee in delight now. HOPE!

  25. #25 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #22 dsmallwood

    the magic phrase is “he killed a cop”

    True, but with every passing day, cops are being less well regarded by the public as being special (although opinions change more slowly in The South). And let’s not forget that law enforcement is our biggest ally in dispelling the myth that cops are our friends because nary a day goes by that they don’t, through their penchant for arrogant and abusive behavior, convert law enforcement sympathizers into law enforcement skeptics.

    Since his original conviction, cops have been very busy creating justice system skeptics. It’s what they do best. Today’s jury may not be so inclined to convict as they were in 2004.

  26. #26 |  Tim | 

    Is this the legitimate Cory Maye defense fund page?


  27. #27 |  Carl Drega | 


  28. #28 |  nicrivera | 

    Fantastic news!

    Bless you, Radley, for your hard-nosed investigation of Cory Maye’s case and for your tireless efforts in bringing this story to the rest of the blogosphere these last several years.

    I can’t really improve what Dave Krueger said above. Everytime I hear partisans going on about how great their favorite politician is, I’m reminded of the work Radley has done–work that actually HAS made a positive difference in people’s lives.

    Just imagine how much of a better world we would have if partisan commentators, pundits, and activists put even a TENTH as much energy defending the civil liberties of their fellow countrymen as they do shilling for their “team.”

  29. #29 |  Lucy | 

    If they try to give him life or the death penalty again, Agitator riot in Mississippi, ok?

  30. #30 |  johnl | 

    It’s impossible that any juror honestly could say that they were fairly certain Maye knew who he was shooting. To get a conviction, the court needs to be rigged with 12 stone hearted lairs. That is never guaranteed.

  31. #31 |  Great News « Polyhistor | 

    […] Maye is getting a new trial.  Hopefully this one will be fair, and will skip the fantastic testimony of an ME who could […]

  32. #32 |  Joe | 

    K9kevlar, your caution is justified, but I am going to guess you are a glass is half full guy.

  33. #33 |  Joe | 

    Or are you a half empty?

  34. #34 |  Nathan A | 

    Wow… it was nice to have a story here bring a smile to my face. Here’s hoping for the best!

  35. #35 |  Homeboy | 

    Fan-bloody-fucking-tastic! I honestly thought that Cory was never going to get a new trial!

  36. #36 |  JOR | 

    The real question is, are you a glass-is-three-quarters-empty, or a glass-is-one-quarter-full kinda guy?

    I feel bad that I have so much trouble getting my hopes up. But I wish Cory Maye the best.

  37. #37 |  J sub D | 

    Accolades for Radley and Corey’s attorneys twenty-thirded.

    It’s not time to pop the cork, but making a champagne purchase doesn’t seem like a bad move.

  38. #38 |  Fascist Nation | 

    Too bad Halley Barbor didn’t do the right thing and pardon him in the first place—but then my expectations of the Guv were already sooooo low.

  39. #39 |  Monica | 

    Good news for a change.

  40. #40 |  John Redman | 

    A word about decorum. I warn that people who post in the manner of K9KEVLAR, above, should not be presumed to be friends precisely because they smear the gutter all over a mixed-company pre-celebration. Likewise HOMEBOY. Using THAT idiom marks one as accepting the ethos of public school values, or, being raised by people with no civilized restraints a la Lord of the Flies.

  41. #41 |  wunder | 

    This actually made me cry for joy. I’m sure you’re too humble, but, Radley, you should be incredibly proud of yourself for this.

  42. #42 |  John Redman | 

    May I ask about post number 39? Did I offend (where K9 and HOMEBOY did not?)?

  43. #43 |  bumperwack | 

    k9kevlar is absolutely correct…and anyone who doesn’t believe that needs to simply continue sipping the happy juice cuz it’s all ok…and “hope” the “system”never “cares” so much for you………

  44. #44 |  K9kevlar | 

    @32, 33 Joe I just got tired of that reality thing biting me in the ass. The man is still in prison. That speaks volumes.

  45. #45 |  K9kevlar | 

    @40 John Redman I think the gals here may have sucked a dick. And I don’t think 6 year old little Suzy is reading this. So let us talk about your desire for decorum. Why is it that when an innocent man is stuck in a maggot infested southern prison you prattle on about fucking decorum? Maye wakes up every day wondering if he can avoid anal rape or if he will have to suck the dick of a guard or another prisoner. You, on the other hand, wake up and worry that proper decorum is not being used on some internet message board. You are one sick mutherfucker Mr. Redmond. But, with a full glass, I toast to the prospect of you and yours becoming victim of the circumstances that have taken away the little freedom Maye and his family once enjoyed. Twit.

  46. #46 |  K9kevlar | 

    Maye is still in a cage and the celebrations have started replete with Miss Manner’s admonishions. Why are we celebrating? Because government DOES create jobs! Think about all the jobs the cops have given us. The judges, jurors, clerks, lawyers, paralegals, journalists, and of course the jailers have all been busy seeing that justice is served. Make sure you folks bring your cookbooks to the party. I recommend To Serve Man.

  47. #47 |  John Redman | 

    Excuse me. THIS was previously in line to post number 40:
    I think that it would be excellent for the prosecutor to seek the death penalty for each and every person associated with bringing these charges in the first place even if it would mean himself. These charges amount to willful attempted murder – of a known innocent man aggravated by color of law. Way back in 1963 I thought that Gov. PipSqueek of Alabama should have resigned and pled guilty as accessory to willful murder after Birmingham Sunday. That he got shot (and survived) in a Md parking lot was too little too late. Anyone still believing in earthly government, who pays taxes and votes is an accessory as well.

  48. #48 |  Arhtur | 

    This is great news and I feel a teensy bit better about our legal system today.

    @ k9k

    Why so over the top vulgar out of the blue in the middle of a sensible and EMOTIONAL thread? How bout “Don’t count your chickens,” or “don’t celebrate prematurely,” or “I think we should be cautiously optimistic…”

    I know it gets people to respond to your posts, but it’s just so cheap. I usually agree with you when I bother to read your entries, but mostly I see your moniker and roll on. Peace.

  49. #49 |  John Redman | 

    Mr K9KEVLAR shows that he is unable to rise above the public school environment that raised him. It proves that his parents did not care about him. He knows this and reacts by spewing hate. I have spent time in the Muskogee County (GA) jail three different times, Anderson County (SC) twice, Delaware County (NY) twice and various other jails singular occasions. “Prattle”, you say. Sure, don’t reply to the charge, just attack the messenger. Your intellect is difficient, it seems, measuring on a par with most of the cops I have known. I was one of those, too, with the Connecticut State Police for three years. From filth comes filth is almost an axiom.

  50. #50 |  K9kevlar | 

    Arhtur exactly because it is an emotional thread. The man has been on death row for most of his adult life. What can be more vulgar than that? (Other than having to go to trial again and face the possibility of getting his old cell back.)

  51. #51 |  K9kevlar | 

    Auhtur you think your/our own humanity would not allow something like this to happen. That is the same denial the Germans living downwind of the camps suffered from. Those Germans were cautiously optimistic that the trains passing by were not filled with people. Turns out they were only right half the time.

  52. #52 |  Arthur | 

    K9, I couldn’t agree more about the vulgarity and absurdity of any system of criminal “justice” which produces these results again and again. I get angry and frustrated, and cynically leavened by news like this. But why use that particular metaphor to refer to the optimism of individuals who are hopeful, happy, and optimistic about seeing justice done for Mr. Maye?

  53. #53 |  Arthur | 

    Lol about what my humanity would allow. I would have been surrounded by dead Nazis until they put an end to me…in fact, I am often accused of hyperbole when speaking to the rate at which liberty is disappearing in the U.S. and just how ‘Gestapo-like’ American LE tactics have become. I believe we are living in a modern police state but I don’t have to call a chatroom full of like-minded persons d*$# suckers to express it.

  54. #54 |  K9kevlar | 

    Why that metaphor? A fan of Harvey Keitel.

  55. #55 |  Arthur | 

    Oh, k. Well, carry on then I guess ; }

  56. #56 |  K9kevlar | 

    I take it that you are not a fan of Pulp Fiction? They say there is more truth in comedy than tragedy. Since we are talking about Maye’s ultimate demise, you might read a few of the last words of the condemned. Good for a guffaw or two.

  57. #57 |  Rick H. | 

    K9kevlar, you’ve got the flailing self-righteousness down pat, but it’s obvious you’re just not very good at expressing yourself in print. Maybe a style change is in order. Try using all caps, or lots of exclamation points.

  58. #58 |  SL | 

    I know more about racism in small Mississippi towns than most other white people living elsewhere could believe. Don’t think the system is going to let Maye off easily, but I hope that he wins his freedom.

    I’ve fired a shot in self-defense. I didn’t kill anybody, but the burden is partly mine because I could have killed someone. If you own a firearm and have resolved to defend yourself and your family, you know there is a risk of making a mistake. The cops should have been trained to minimize this risk. The burden was on them to guard themselves and innocent others. They were the ones who chose to make a night raid on a home with a child present.

    I believe the state shouldn’t be doing these no-knock raids over drugs.

  59. #59 |  A brief and unnecessary defense of Radley Balko | Nobody's Business | 

    […] began drawing attention to the case in 2005, and within a year, Cory Maye was off death row, and a new trial is scheduled for later this year. Of course, it was Maye’s volunteer lawyers who did the […]

  60. #60 |  Publius Daily Digest | 

    […] a byproduct of the failed drug war, you should consider the story of Cory Maye out of Mississippi. This post from December 2010 provides a primer and here is a page of all related posts. This is tough reading, but if you are […]