Free Cory Maye!
At The Agitator, Radley Balko has several posts about the case of Cory Maye, a man currently on Mississippi's death row for defending himself and his daughter against a home invader. It turns out the home invader was a police officer and the son of the local police chief, executing a no-knock warrant against the wrong residence. Mr. Balko summarizes the incident here:
Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.
The story gets more bizarre from there.
Maye's attorney tells me that after the trial, she spoke with two jurors by phone. She learned from them that the consensus among jurors was that Maye was convicted for two reasons. The first is that though they initially liked her, Maye's lawyer, the jury soured on her when, in her closing arguments, she intimated that if the jury showed no mercy for Maye, God might neglect to bestow mercy on them when they meet him in heaven. They said the second reason May was convicted was that the jury felt he'd been spoiled by his mother and grandmother, and wasn't very respectful of elders and authority figures. The facts of the case barely entered the picture. Gotta' love the South.
(link via Hit and Run, more updates on the Maye case at The Agitator's main page)
In the immortal words of Phil Ochs, "Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of."