Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cory Maye

This morning, I read for the first time about Cory Maye, thanks to a thread at TCF started by NuclearDruid. Upon further search, the tragic events, and subsequent trial, conviction and death sentence of Maye has gone virtually unreported, until Radley Balko discovered Maye’s questionable conviction and began blogging it.

Balko’s blog, the Agitator, contains developing blog reports of accumulated documentation of the case, with links. Stephen Gordon, over at Hammer of Truth, posted contact information for Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, so people could write him about Maye’s case. Matt Rustler, over at Stop the Bleating, blogs about Balko’s gathering of information, providing sequential links.

Usually it is pretty pointless to contact political critters, however in this case I’m going to make an exception. There appears to be a glut of unanswered questions and shady evidence. With the life of a potentially innocent young father at stake, it is worth a try.

In the bigger picture, this is also the unfolding story of the erosion of American safety. With each fatal police raid, another chapter is written. Claire Wolfe blogged today about Maye and paramilitary police raids. She recently spoke with criminologist Peter B. Kraska, whose research reveals that approximately 40,000 paramilitary police raid occur annually, and that only about 20% of them are to serve arrest warrants. Balko posted today a quote from El Monte police chief, Bill Ankeny, which appeared in the LA Times after the 1999 shooting death of Mario Paz, victim of a paramilitary raid.

"We do bang on the door and make an announcement--'It's the police'--but it kind
of runs together. If you're sitting on the couch, it would be difficult to
get to the door before they knock it down."

Police are conducting raids on innocent Americans, people with no previous criminal records; people of all ages (Paz was 64 years old when shot to death; Maye’s daughter was a year old when their duplex was raided); people who shouldn’t meet death at the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect them.

We can close our eyes, and our minds, to this problem. We can fool ourselves and say that only bad people, with weak hearts, are affected by the War on Drugs. When it is someone else’s door, someone else’s family, it’s easy to dismiss it from our line of sight. To paraphrase an infamous parable, when they’ve already come for everyone else, who’s going to be there when they come for you? Maybe Joel Miller’s book, Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs Is Destroying America, is a good place to begin researching this question, although I shall infer the answer. Ignore this problem and no one is going to be there to help you in your time of need; they’ll be incarcerated or dead.

Note: If you choose to write Barbour, or other folks of your choosing, about Maye’s case, please double check any facts you refer to in your letter. Balko noted on his Saturday, Dec. 10 blog entry that there are some misconceptions and conflicting information posted in Blog land. He writes, “I've already seen a few misconceptions start to appear. I think this is in part due to conflicting accounts of the case as given by various media outlets in Prentiss and Hatiesburg, by Maye's first lawyer, by the cops at the scene, and by the prosecution. It's also probably in part due to me putting the first two posts up rather quickly, and perhaps not being quite as clear as I should have been.”Don’t give Barbour any reason to glibly dismiss your letter.


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