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 |  Mike | 

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

  2. #2 |  Les | 

    Wonderful news, Radley. Thanks.

  3. #3 |  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.

  4. #4 |  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.

  5. #5 |  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?

  6. #6 |  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!

  7. #7 |  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.

  8. #8 |  Troy | 


  9. #9 |  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”

  10. #10 |  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.

  11. #11 |  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)? :)

  12. #12 |  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!!

  13. #13 |  Carl Drega | 


  14. #14 |  mmmwright | 

    Yaaaaaay! Hooray for Radley Balko!

  15. #15 |  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.

  16. #16 |  Judi | 

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

  17. #17 |  Just Plain Brian | 

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

  18. #18 |  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.

  19. #19 |  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.

  20. #20 |  NomDeWeb | 

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

  21. #21 |  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.

  22. #22 |  EH | 

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

  23. #23 |  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.

  24. #24 |  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.

  25. #25 |  mojopin | 

    holy effing sh*t!

    This is amazing.

  26. #26 |  Jim | 


  27. #27 |  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.

  28. #28 |  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.

  29. #29 |  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.

  30. #30 |  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.

  31. #31 |  Brooks | 

    That is terrific news.

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

  32. #32 |  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.

  33. #33 |  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 […]

  34. #34 |  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.

  35. #35 |  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.

  36. #36 |  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.

  37. #37 |  Matt D | 

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

  38. #38 |  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.

  39. #39 |  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

  40. #40 |  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.

  41. #41 |  Joe | 

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

  42. #42 |  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.

  43. #43 |  GaryM | 

    Excellent news, even if not a complete vindication.

  44. #44 |  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 […]