It apparently started over the weekend when Radley Balko of the libertarian blog The Agitator blogged on the case of Cory Maye, who is on death row in Mississippi for killing a police officer. You can read Randy's original blog entry here.
Now all of a sudden blogs all over the place are picking up on the piece and it even has entered "mainstream" blogland with mentions in The Hotline and CBS News' blog. (We at Abolish the Death Penalty missed it, what with all the publicity around the Stanley Tookie Williams case.)
Here's sort of a running account of how this story has crept up:
Cory Maye: "An Interesting Test Of The Power Of The Blogosphere."
While the fate of Stanley “Tookie” Williams drew plenty of attention in the in the mainstream media, many in the blogosphere – on the right and the left - have been lamenting the lack of similar attention to the death penalty case of Cory Maye. Maye is on death row for killing a police officer. Radley Balko of the libertarian blog The Agitator was first to blog about Maye, and those who have followed seem to agree that Maye is the victim of overzealous police and racial bias and doesn’t deserve the death penalty. Balko offers a detailed summary of his findings in the case and sums it up as such:
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, frigthened [sic] 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.
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit says the case “sounds like a total miscarriage of justice”: If the facts are as [Balko] reports, this guy never should have been charged -- and he should have had a lawsuit (though those, unreasonably, are usually losers) against the police for breaking down the wrong door. The cop who was shot was the police chief's son. And there's a racial angle, too.
Obsidian Wings, who notes that “I don't have any moral qualms about the death penalty as a concept,” adds: If it is true that Maye was mistakenly thought to be a drug dealer and he reacted as many innocent citizens might to an intruder, he ought not be executed. Maye is not the kind of killer that I have in mind when I argue in defense of the death penalty.
Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal, who is “not opposed to the death penalty” writes: Regardless of whether or not there's more here than meets the eye, there's not much doubt that Maye doesn't deserve to die. It's yet another example of how capriciously the death penalty is applied in the United States, and Maye's case is an almost perfect demonstration of the intersection of race, lousy representation, and likely police misconduct that are so often the hallmarks of capital cases.
The Volokh Conspiracy chides the mainstream media: The MSM hasn't
paid any attention to this story, but it should. And I hope the ississippi
Supreme Court will be paying lots of attention, too.
And amid much talk of the influence of bloggers and citizen journalism, Mark Kleiman at Huffington Post chimes in about what this latest crusade might reveal: This case is an interesting test of the power of the blogosphere. Though the apparent injustice is two years old, it seems to have attracted exactly zero attention in the mainstream media, at least according to a Google News search for "Cory Maye."