Now Available at Amazon!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Free Cory Maye!

This blog will go back and forth between discussion of abstract ideas and commentary on current events. There is no better way to plunge into the latter than by helping to intensify the spotlight on the injustice being done to Cory Maye. Late one night in December 2001 Maye was sleeping at home with his baby daughter in Prentiss, Mississippi, when a SWAT team of narcotics agents came bursting in. He retreated to his daughter's bedroom with a handgun. When the cops came through that door, he fired three times, hitting policeman Ron Jones, who later died of his wounds. Maye is 25 and black. Jones was 29 and white, the son of the then-police chief. Maye was charged with murder and was convicted last year of capital murder. He is on death row, awaiting an appeal before the state Supreme Court.

The police say they knocked on the door and identified themselves. Maye says they did not. But that discrepancy is less important than it seems. If a man is dead asleep, he may not hear a knock on the door and the words "Police. Open up." And even if he did hear those words, why should he believe them? Thugs often claim to be police as a way to get victims to let down their guard.

The police had a warrant to search Maye's premises (perhaps two; there is suspicion about this), but he was not named in it. Apparently, an informant provided a tip. But anyone who knows anything about drug-law enforcement knows that the police frequently rely on unreliable informants who are trying to take the heat off themselves. This is what comes from enforcing laws against consensual activities: since there is no complaining witness in the "crime," the police have to resort to a host of improper tactics. Entrapment is another one.

Maye had no criminal record. Moreover, the police at first said they found no drugs in his home. Only days later did they claim that they found a small quantity of "allegedly marijuana."

Make no mistake about it: Maye is a victim of the "war on drugs," which is really a war on people. He would not have shot a policeman if the SWAT team had not broken into his home late that night. And they would not have broken into his home had the politicians not declared war on people who make, sell, and use unapproved drugs. The perpetrators of the drug war in effect killed Ron Jones and now threaten to kill, by lethal injection, Cory Maye.

The death penalty is objectionable for a host of good reasons. No one who opposes the state would want it to have such a power. But regardless of one's view of the death penalty, it would be a monumental injustice in this case. Cory Maye was aggressed against by state agents. He had reason to think that he and his daughter were in danger. He acted in self-defense. There is no other solution:

Free Cory Maye!

Hat tip to Radley Balko, who has heroically brought this neglected case to the public's attention.

Postscrip: Keep watching Radley's site. He's really keeping on top of this thing.

No comments: