Cory Maye Will Soon Be Free

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’m in Monticello, Mississippi, this morning, where Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell has just signed a plea agreement between Cory Maye and the state. Maye has plead guilty to a reduced charged of manslaughter, and has been resentenced to 10 years in prison, time he has already served. He’ll be sent to Rankin County for processing. He should be released and home with his family in a matter of days.

This is wonderful news. Much, much more to come.

MORE: I have a writeup now posted Huffington Post, though most of it is background. I’ll have more thorough coverage of this morning’s events, including an interview with Cory Maye, later today.

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94 Responses to “Cory Maye Will Soon Be Free”

  1. #1 |  Jay | 

    Wonderful news


  2. #2 |  Nick Aubert | 

    Hey, that’s fantastic news. Thanks for bringing public attention to this story.

  3. #3 |  Hal_10000 | 

    Awesome news!

  4. #4 |  Chris in AL | 

    That is fantastic.

  5. #5 |  Cyto | 

    It certainly is wonderful news… if not wholly satisfying. The fact that he’s still a felon certainly doesn’t sound fair. But free is free.

    I don’t have any personal stake in this case by any stretch of the imagination. But I’m still grateful for all of the work put in by the various groups and attorneys on Maye’s behalf. Thank you to all of them and to The Agitator for sharing the story and bringing the spotlight to bear on this injustice.

  6. #6 |  Kid Handsome | 

    Awesome, Radley.

  7. #7 |  B | 


    This has made my day.

  8. #8 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    Yay! The whole situation sucks, but at least he’s on his way home.

  9. #9 |  Greg N. | 


  10. #10 |  Whim | 

    Many years of a innocent man’s life have been robbed by police Keystone Cops antics.

    One more reason why routine use of SWAT raids must cease & desist.

    They are far too volatile to properly manage. Especially, since the police have virtually no incentive to perform proper due diligence before launching a raid with the potential to unleash lethal force at a moment’s reflection against innocent residents.

  11. #11 |  db | 

    This is great news. It’s a shame he had to plead guilty to manslaughter, but as Cyto said, “free is free.” It’s unclear if he would have been charged with manslaughter if the person killed making an armed assault on Maye’s home were not a police officer.

  12. #12 |  Stephen | 

    Wow, after all this time, just boom you’re out just like that? I would have thought we would be following a long series of hearings and such.

  13. #13 |  Stephen | 

    Not that we haven’t followed a long series of legal steps on this one, it is almost a shock to see it end.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I hope he is soon with his family. All the hypocrisy of the state set aside for the moment, this is good news.

  15. #15 |  Cory Maye To Soon Be Freed! - INGunOwners | 

    […] too time served and will soon be freed. After 10 years he'll get to be with his family again. Cory Maye Will Soon Be Free | The Agitator Cory Maye To Be Released From […]

  16. #16 |  Lucy | 

    I wanted to cry when I read this. It’s amazing. I hope he can get back some of what he lost and that his kid knows him and all that.

    But he’s free. That’s something.

  17. #17 |  RomanCandle | 

    And, ironically enough, I hear he wants to be head of the IMF.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Congratulations to Mr. Maye and his family.

  18. #18 |  Burdell | 

    Mississippi criminal lawyers chime in–am I correct that, in Mississippi, and manslaughter conviction means Cory will not lose his voting rights?

  19. #19 |  Sinic | 

    Good news on a Friday? Is a double junk punch coming this afternoon?

  20. #20 |  Brandon | 

    Did they make him plead guilty to manslaughter just to avoid having to pay a settlement?

  21. #21 |  Chris Berez | 

    This is some of the best news ever! While Maye should never have been in prison in the first place, it’s amazing to hear that he is not only off of death row but able to return home where he belongs.

    Amazing work, Radley! I doubt any of us would have even heard of Cory Maye if it wasn’t for you. The work you’ve done on this case is absolutely awe-inspiring.

  22. #22 |  Irving Washington | 

    Good news. Hard not to feel like it’s still a raw deal, though.

  23. #23 |  overgoverned | 

    Oh, right, Cory Maye “will soon be free.” Is that what the Koch Brothers WANTED you to say!?!?!? Isn’t this just a ploy to take work from correctional officers’ union!?!?!?

  24. #24 |  LittleLebowski | 

    But of course he has lost his right to protect himself with a firearm now. Not to mention his livelihood.

  25. #25 |  scottp | 

    I seriously doubt any of this would have happened if it weren’t for you, Radley.
    I hope you get the chance to spend a little time with Cory after his release.

  26. #26 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Yep now the state just needs to give him his decade back, and things will be square. :\

  27. #27 |  goober1223 | 

    Radley, have you been able to meet him yet? Is he aware of all of the work you’ve done on the case?

  28. #28 |  Lou W | 

    Wow, long long overdue, but fantastic news to finally hear. Can’t wait to see a picture of you with Cory as a free man.

  29. #29 |  Tolly | 

    Excellent news – thanks in no small part to your focus on the case.

    Sad that it took 10 years of his life to pay for War On Drugs insanity though.

  30. #30 |  Andrew S. | 

    Incredible news. Hate that he had to plead guilty, but I’m so happy to hear he’s going home.

  31. #31 |  Lou W | 

    Holy crap! Go straight to

    Cory’s release is the full front page!

  32. #32 |  Charlie O | 

    Awesome! And Mr. Balko, you, singularly are responsible for bringing Cory Maye’s plight to the public eye. You saved this man’s life.

  33. #33 |  Fritz | 

    Holy. Fucking. Shit. Shall we declare July 1 to be Radley Balko Day? This is awesome, and just what I needed to hear after reading about that Ogden memo bullshit yesterday. Excellent, excellent work Radley. Enjoy.

  34. #34 |  Charles | 

    It’s hard to call this justice, but it’s very good news. Congrats, Mr. Maye.

  35. #35 |  Charles | 

    And, Radley, I hope you feel a sense of personal accomplishment and well-being, because you deserve it. You helped save a man’s life and remedy an injustice, which most people can’t say about their lives.

  36. #36 |  Pablo | 

    I agree it is not a perfect outcome but you did some awesome work and he is now a free man.

    Are you gonna send a link of this story to John Cole?

  37. #37 |  goober1223 | 

    Is there a stipulation in the plea agreement that he can’t seek further retribution or a reduced charge? It’d be nice if they could eventually rule him innocent and could get payment for his time behind bars, but that seems way too farfetched given the current state of our judicial system.

  38. #38 |  b | 

    while i applaud this development, i have a question. what is “processing”? the article said he’d be sent to rankin county for “processing” and be home in a few days.

    as i imagine it, he’s in a prison cell. the prosecution and defense reached an agreement which the court endorsed: guilty of manslaughter, ten year sentence, which he’s already served. even in a big prison, it should take no more than an hour for a guard to escort him from his cell to the front gate. any further custody, any delay in his freedom, is an imposition by the state with no basis in law.

    his next couple of days will be fraught with peril. something there is that does not like a particular outcome may seek to impose its own outcome by surprise.

  39. #39 |  2nd of 3 | 

    Is there a website or address we can make contributions to the Maye family? It’s great he’s free, but I imagine getting a decent job and supporting his family are going to be difficult with a (BS) conviction over his head.

  40. #40 |  Skyehaven | 

    I can’t think of a better way to kick off Independence Day than being able to share, vicariously to be sure, Cory Maye’s release. Good on ya’, Radley, and everyone else who has been involved in the attempts to correct, as well as can be, this injustice. Let the fireworks begin!

  41. #41 |  wunder | 

    amazing news. i know you don’t want to take credit and there were of course many others involved in making this happen, but you are no small part of it. incredible work.

  42. #42 |  SJE | 

    I am glad he will be released, but sad he had to plead guilty. The guy should never have been prosecuted.

  43. #43 |  notsure | 

    Radley you should be proud of yourself. If not for your stories, and constant updates, I’m not sure this result would ever have happened.

  44. #44 |  Mari | 

    I’ve never commented here, but I had to delurk for this. Radley, this is wonderful news, and you should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished. I know you’ll be quick to credit Cory’s legal team, but your reporting played a huge part in this.

    I wish Cory all the best in the future. He deserves it.

  45. #45 |  David | 

    Until there’s a way to undo time already served, this is the best outcome we could have hoped for. Congratulations to Mr. Maye, and job well done to you, Radley.

    Sometimes the good guys win.

  46. #46 |  Bart | 

    Three Cheers for Radley Balko!

    You must be walking on clouds right now – and you should be.

  47. #47 |  Ben Vernia | 

    To answer the question about processing: Cory was sentenced to ten years. He has served about 9 1/2 years, but in various institutions (at least two separate county jails and the Mississippi Department of Corrections). He will get credit for “good time” but the MDOC needs to get together the records of his time served, and calculate what we know to be the case: that Cory’s already served more of his 10 year sentence than necessary and can be released.

    As with any plea agreement, this came together quickly, so the bureaucracy needs a few days to catch up.

  48. #48 |  Aresen | 

    As others have said, I am glad Cory Maye will be going home and a billion thanks to Radley for fighting so hard for this day.

    But I feel no sense of justice; Cory Maye has been horribly wronged.

  49. #49 |  Stephen | 

    If I was Cory, I would get the hell out of that state as fast as I could.

  50. #50 |  D | 

    Please let us know where we can make financial contributions for Maye’s family. Thanks!

  51. #51 |  Mike | 

    What a great way to start a long weekend! Even better for Cory and his family.

  52. #52 |  Les | 

    Wonderful news, Radley. Thanks.

  53. #53 |  Ben | 

    Fantastic news that he will be set free and soon be home with his family. But the conviction is bad. He is going to have a very hard time finding a decent job to support his family with a felony manslaughter conviction on his record.

  54. #54 |  Kent | 

    I don’t know how to respond other than saying… Thank You Radley! Thank God for folks like you spending your lives standing/speaking up for those with no voice. May God bless you, sir.

  55. #55 |  Hal_10000 | 

    The more I think about this, the more emotional I get. Just think about it for a moment. Within a few days, he’ll be holding his little girl instead of awaiting execution. I wonder if John Cole can say he’s done anything half as good?

  56. #56 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    It is wonderful to hear that Mr. Maye will be coming home. I join in with the other commenters who have asked about dontations to Maye and his family. Many Agitator readers are well aware that state compensation for faulty convictions is not very generous. Thanks for the hard work Radley. This is what real investigative journalism looks like!

  57. #57 |  overgoverned | 

    #55: “I wonder if John Cole can say he’s done anything half as good?”

    No, but the thought will never occur to him.

  58. #58 |  Troy | 


  59. #59 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Here’s this gem from canadaloki in the comments:
    “If he had not had a gun within reach the cop would probably still be alive, and he would not have lost 10 years of his life. The cops were wrong first, but he compounded the problem by just blasting away in the dark. Plenty of blame to go around”

    And here is my response (provided it is approved):

    “Way to pretty much blame the victim. He had a gun in his home, thus he is to blame for attempting to defend his family from people he probably thought were home invaders. In fact, if you read Radley’s work (particula­rly his study “Overkill”­), I think you will come to the conclusion that they WERE home invaders. Your comment pretty much sums up the problem with the Progressiv­e anti-gun mentality. You are, whether you realize it or not, making apologies for excesses of the state that are being justified in the name of the U.S. drug war.

    If you, as a Canadian (I presume), wish to view your government police as your sole protector, so be it. If you wish to roll into a fetal position if a paramilita­ry unit knocks down your door in the middle of the night, that is your choice. But, in the United States, we have this exquisite inconvenie­nce called the second amendment. We also have a history of (well founded) skepticism of state power in this country. As a Left-liber­tarian, I may have some sympathy for your views on economics, but criticizin­g Maye for daring to (legally) have a gun in his home makes me doubt your committmen­t to human rights. This kind of statist drivel is what drove me away from Progressiv­ism”

  60. #60 |  yonemoto | 

    Radley, thanks for consistently standing up for people who need a voice. Indeed let us know if there’s any way we can help the Mayes.

  61. #61 |  Matthew | 

    This is fantastic news. Like other commenters said, what a great start to the 4th of July weekend.

    Radley, congratulations to you. I am a huge fan of your website and this story is one of the many reasons why. If only other reporters were half as good as you.

    Now, how long until there is a movie adaptation of this story (and who would be cast as Radley in the movie)? :)

  62. #62 |  KrisV | 

    I am so happy for Mr. Maye that I’m almost in tears. I have been following his story since you first reported it. I’ve been heartbroken for them, but now I am so happy he gets to be with his little girl now. Good work, Mr. Balko!!

  63. #63 |  Carl Drega | 


  64. #64 |  mmmwright | 

    Yaaaaaay! Hooray for Radley Balko!

  65. #65 |  Nipplemancer | 

    If I believed in god, I’d say you were doing his work Radley. Instead, I will toast you and Cory tonight and tell everyone I see at various barbecues this weekend the story of a man who protected his child from thugs who broke into his home after midnight and spent ten years in jail for it and the outstanding journalist who helped get him off of death row and out of prison.

  66. #66 |  Judi | 

    What’s to say that hasn’t been said? Congrads to Cory. Phenomenal job Radley.

  67. #67 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    I never thought I’d see this day. Fantastic work, Radley.

  68. #68 |  Deoxy | 

    This is good news. Wonderful news would have been admitting publicly that he was actually innocent and shouldn’t have been charged in the first place.

    But still, much better than would usually be expected.

  69. #69 |  Mrs. C | 

    This is such wonderful news…Thank God…and may He bless you…and all those…who had a part…in this outcome.

    Good Luck and much happiness to Corey Maye and his family.

  70. #70 |  NomDeWeb | 

    “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, [he’s] free at last!”

  71. #71 |  JOR | 

    Well, most everything’s been said that could have been. It’s not an ideal outcome, but it’s a better one than anyone has any business hoping for in this world.

    Cory Maye has all my best wishes, and everyone who worked to free him has my admiration.

  72. #72 |  EH | 

    Of course they forced him to agree to a face-saving plea for the benefit of the Prosecution.

  73. #73 |  Abram Pafford | 

    I echo the comments of everyone here who has praised Radley’s work on this case. It was a privilege to get to know and work with Radley after becoming involved in the case. It is easy for things to get lost in the “noise” of the Internet, but Radley’s initial postings on this case in December 2005 were so compelling, and his research so thorough, that it became impossible for me and the others involved in the case to simply read the story and then go on with our lives.

    A number of commenters have asked about a mechanism for making donations that could aid Cory and his family as he emerges from prison a free man. The “Cory Maye Justice Fund” that was set up by Radley and Cory’s Mississippi attorney Bob Evans remains open, and donations can be made via check or PayPay using the information below:

    Cory Maye Justice Fund
    c/o R.E. Evans
    P.O. Box 636
    Monticello, MS 39654

    Or you can PayPal to:

    Finally, on behalf of Cory, Cory’s family, and his legal team, I want to thank all of the commenters who followed the case and cheered us on over the years. There were many times when the outcome was far from certain, and it was always encouraging for Cory and those working on his behalf to know that people cared about him, and believed fervently that he deserved to regain his freedom and be re-united with his family.

  74. #74 |  Corneliusm | 

    While it’s great news that he’ll be freed, I have to echo the sentiments of many expressed here- this is still injustice. Ten years of his life, gone. Ten years of watching his daughter grow up, gone. His right to vote and bear arms, gone. His career and livelihood (now that he’s a felon), gone.

    Not all of those who wronged him have been punished.

    Last but not least, the incident has not affected the way subsequent raids have been done (ie- Jose Guerena being a recent example). Cory Maye’s sad story is one of many, and many more to come.

  75. #75 |  mojopin | 

    holy effing sh*t!

    This is amazing.

  76. #76 |  Jim | 


  77. #77 |  pam | 

    Congratulations Radley, you should get a medal of honor. Congratulations and blessings to Corey Maye. Was this also the beginning of the Hayne exposure? Ya killed to birds with one stone bubba.

  78. #78 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    I know I’m late here, but this is amazing news. Radley, you should be proud of the role you’ve played in bringing about this development.

  79. #79 |  witless chum | 

    Just in time to let off a shitload of fireworks.

    What a disgusting shame that it took 10 years and a bunch of work from good people to get him out of prison, but it’s a victory. For Cory Maye and family, most of all, and for the abstract notions of justice and general good sense.

  80. #80 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Radley, Prentiss Mississippi needs to pay a price for ruining this man’s life: At minimum, the vulgar existence of their police department needs national mocking.

    You might get with Jerry Mitchell at the Clarion Ledger. He knows the terrain well.

  81. #81 |  Brooks | 

    That is terrific news.

    So many of the comments over at HuffPo are just vile, mindless crap though. Unsurprising, but still demoralizing.

  82. #82 |  Mona | 

    Radley, even tho I’m 55, I want to be you when I grow up. Seriously, what you have done here for Cory Maye — and for exposing the rotted core of the drug war and our criminal “justice” system — is everything I ever liked about libertarianism, even tho I do not so self-identify any longer. May you live long and continue your fine work.

  83. #83 |  Cory Maye to Be Set Free - I Hate Paypal » I Hate Paypal | 

    […] Balko has the excellent news in the Cory Maye case, which some readers will remember from a few years ago (and which I helped […]

  84. #84 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Is there any way to send his attorney a bottle of bourbon? I think all of us tatortots could spare a buck or two to this end.

  85. #85 |  Kass | 

    The big story here– the important story– is that this man was sentenced to death. I’m glad he is free, but the fact that he was facing execution is the truly frightening thing. DEATH.

  86. #86 |  Abram Pafford | 

    paranoiastrksdp – I cannot speak for the rest of the defense team, but if you are taking requests, I am partial to Buffalo Trace.

  87. #87 |  Matt D | 

    Disagree with your politics from time to time, but you’re the most legit journalist around. Keep up the good work.

  88. #88 |  Bill Poser | 

    I’m very glad that he is at last free, but disappointed that he had to plead guilty to a lesser charge. He should never have been charged.

  89. #89 |  Cookie | 

    That is some wonderful news im from the same hometown as coury and i will be glad to see him home cause he been away for a long time for the wrong reason but anyway joy comes yes it does and god is good may god bless you in everyway coury soon to welcome you home

  90. #90 |  Richard Nikoley | 


    I did not read the comments and I hope to hell someone already said this but YOU are the clearly, to my mind, the FOUNDATION upon which this monumentous undertaking was built. Yes, others did a lot of work and in the case of the pro bono legal team, perhaps more hours put in than you.

    But I think you got the ball rolling. Someone has to serve that role and you did it, and effectively. May you sleep like a baby for 8 hours per night for life. You deserve it.

    BTW, I have followed this and blogged about it myself from your very first post in I think 2005.

  91. #91 |  Joe | 

    You are a good man Radley for fighting the good fight on this. Thank you.

  92. #92 |  Joe | 

    The manslaughter plea is bitter. I recognize it is time served, but it is a sham. Still, I am glad he is getting out.

  93. #93 |  GaryM | 

    Excellent news, even if not a complete vindication.

  94. #94 |  Cory Maye to Be Set Free | | 

    […] Balko has the excellent news in the Cory Maye case, which some readers will remember from a few years ago (and which I helped […]