Friday, December 09, 2005

Sentenced To Death for Self-Defense

Everyone's talking about Stanley "Tookie" Williams these days.

Will California Governor Arnold Schwartzeneger commute his death sentence for having murdered four people in cold blood during his gang days (which was pretty much all that he did before being convicted and sent to prison)?

The news media and Hollywood stars are having a field day with this story.

Meanwhile, down in Mississippi, a man sits on Death Row, convicted of a crime he almost certainly did not commit.

Cory Maye was asleep in the middle of the night in his duplex apartment, alone with his young daughter, when his front door was suddenly kicked in by men wearing black. Fearing for his life, and the life of his daughter, he grabbed a gun he kept near his bed (the house was not in a genteel neighborhood) and shot the first man in the door as he approached.

Unfortunately for Cory, the men were police officers participating in a drug raid on the other apartment in the duplex. It is not clear whether the police identified themselves or not as they entered. Most likely they did not since they had already identified themselves as they had entered the neighbor's apartment moments earlier. The men entering Cory's apartment had thought they were entering the same first apartment through a side door.

But they were wrong; and the officer shot by Cory died as the bullet entered his lower abdomen just beneath his bullet-proof vest.

Even more unfortunate for Cory, the slain officer was the son of the Police Chief. Both were white. Cory was black.

Cory was eventually charged and found guilty of the willful murder of a police officer and sentenced to death. Previous to the night his home was unlawfully invaded Cory had never in his entire life been arrested or charged with a crime.

Evidence points to a incompetent and biased jury, an inept public defender and a charlatan hired by the family to file appeals briefs (which were not filed in a timely fashion). And, of course, a charge of murder that should never have been brought in the first place.

You can read more detalils about Cory Maye's tragedy here and here and here and here. (Note the last two links are news articles that do not even mention that Maye's apartment was not the one identified in the search warrent. In fact they infer that Maye was the prime suspect in the drug raid.)

You can also feel free to contact Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, and politely request that he consider doing the right thing and pardon Cory.....before he gets a lethal injection for the crime of defending himself and his family.

Governor Barbour's address and phone # are:
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 or 1-877-405-0733
PS: Silent Runnings has posted an "open letter" to Governor Barbour. I'm sure you will be permitted to copy it and send it as your own if you are either not creative enough or have enough time to write your own.