December 14, 2005

More About Maye

Radley Balko has been doing a helluva job in researching Cory Maye's situation. He's posted (in .pdf form) copies of the search warrants for both sides of the duplex, along with some related documents. A good summary of what we know to date can be found here, but I suggest just going to his main page & scrolling down.

We were mistaken; there was a search warrant for Mr. Maye's side of the duplex (although it did not name Mr. Maye). Also it turns out the gun Mr. Maye used was stolen. Two jurors were black (the rest were white) & Officer Jones was in fact armed, although he never drew his weapon. Do any of those things alter how I am looking at this situation?

Not really. The easiest one is the stolen gun issue. It had been stolen a year before in a town 100 miles away from where Mr. Maye lived. Mr. Maye says he got the gun from a friend & there's nothing to indicate that he knew the gun was stolen, let alone to imply that he stole it himself.

The fact that there was a search warrant doesn't alter anything. The police had a legal authority to be there, but not unannounced (if they did not announce themselves as Mr. Maye has suggested).

Legally it's a bit tricky in spots - while the warrant did not specify it to be of the "no knock" variety many courts have held that unannounced entry is permissible if it's necessary to prevent evidence form being destroyed or to protect the officer's safety. Of course I'm gonna call "bullshit" on both premises & explain why, but keep in mind part of the problem with this country is that the courts do not seek or heed my counsel.

The proper method of executing a search warrant is for the cops to knock, wait for someone to answer the door & then explain the situation. I'll even go another step & say that a cop should let the person read the warrant before they go into the dwelling or other named areas. The "law & order" types hate that notion because it could give a drug dealer a chance to flush the evidence but I think the attributes of such a method far outweigh the detriments.

By waiting until someone has read a warrant a cop is showing the proper respect for us mere peasants. Sure cops have a job to do but when they stop respecting those they deal with then it all falls to hell. Additionally & probably most pragmatically it gives the person whose property is to be searched a chance to make sure what the cops are intending to do is legal. Suppose someone points out that the warrant if for 8297 Main Street & the address the cops are about to search is 8299? Think that could prevent a host of unpleasantries? & perhaps would you go so far to say that it'd be worth the small risk that some drug dealer could be flushing cocaine or marijuana down his drain to prevent someone being shot because a group of cops can't read a street address?

The idea some courts have put forth that an unannounced entry would better protect the cops is laughable. Why? Folks like me. I don't care what you're wearing, if you barge into my house while armed, you will be shot. You'll be very lucky if you're not bayoneted as well (I've always been a belt & suspenders kinda guy) but count on being perforated by something. If I live I'll be happy to sort out the paperwork later, but any armed stranger who breaks into my house will be viewed as a threat & dealt with accordingly. Course if a cop knocks, waits for me to answer, then gives me a few to read the search warrant & make sure it's in order I'd comply. Not happily (who likes having their privacy invaded?) but peacefully.

& I do believe there are enough folks like me who tend to think that someone breaking into their home is a threat to be dealt with quickly to make the notion of "unannounced entries" being safer for cops a very foolish idea.

Another thing that strikes me as odd - well not odd, fishy, is the DA in the case claimed that not only was Mr. Maye's gun stolen, but unregistered. Well my guns aren't registered either (assuming the ATFU isn't keeping illegal records). Like Colorado & North Carolina Mississippi does not require firearms registration. Mentioning Mr. Maye's "unregistered" gun is about as relevant as mentioning his "unregistered" refrigerator. Saying either would accurately tell volumes about the DA's knowledge or his character, depending upon whether he knew he was speaking out of his ass or not. Then again it's not like the DA hasn't said dumb assed things before.

The only relevant question is whether Mr. Maye did or did not know it was a cop that was breaking into his home. Considering Mr. Maye only shot the one cop & threw down his weapon when the other cops yelled that they were cops I'd be inclined to believe that he did not. There's at least a reasonable doubt. The man was asleep when the cops broke in. Hell, it's possible that he simply did not understand what ever they were yelling prior to breaking his door down - that is if they announced themselves at that point. It seems odd that the cops would announce themselves & then feel the need to announce themselves again after shots were fired (though that could have just been a reflexive reaction as per their training). But Officer Jones was the first in the door & he did not have his weapon drawn. That would seem to be a sign that he did not think there was any danger. & if we excuse any thoughts of arrogance (as in "no one would dare oppose me cause I'm a cop" type arrogance) I'd think that the cops didn't believe anyone was home, thereby reducing incentive to announce their presence.

The jury thing is not less troubling because there were two black people on it. Juries only have to agree in their decision, not their reasoning. If 8 of them voted for conviction & death because they didn't like an "uppity negro" acting "uppity" they'd say "guilty" just like 4 others who honestly thought that a crime was committed. & there is no law that says 8 out those people who didn't like an "uppity negro" & voted for conviction because of it had to be white.

It's not so much a race issue as it is a culture & class issue. No; not the "class" that the left keeps mumbling about which is usually defined by income. I refer more to societal station - a hold over from the days of aristocracy. People can be just as class conscious within their own race as they can without. & a strong sense of class or station in life is not uncommon to some cultures within the u.S., especially more rurally centered ones.

So the jurors’ race doesn't negate the idea that they could have convicted because of some prejudice or prejudice-like motives. What i would like to see is a copy of the jury’s instructions from the judge. In the case I linked to in the previous post I did on Mr. Maye's case the appeal centered on the instructions to the jury. If the jury was told that self defense was not a valid verdict, or if the judge seriously misrepresented what it would take to constitute self defense or murder then that also could explain the jury's verdict.

I'm still left with the same conclusion – Mr. Maye should be a free man, not a condemned one. He acted no differently than I would have in his situation (well aside from his not bayoneting the intruder) & I do believe that was the proper course of action given the circumstances.

Battelpanda is keeping track of bloggers who are discussing Mr. Maye's predicament - & by political leanings no less. & keep checking in on Radley Balko's blog as I'm sure he'll have more on this as soon as he can find it.

Posted by Publicola at December 14, 2005 06:07 AM | TrackBack

I would be careful saying that you have an unfettered right to attack anything in your house. Especially unannounced police.

I thought it was essential to the no knock raid to identify that police are comming in? It's a horrible situation for a cop to die and for another man to be sent to die over search warrent for drugs. It's like drugs are systematically causing crime sprees, as opposed to those who take the drugs and then commit criminal acts..

Could you imagine a USA still living under prohibition?

Posted by: HardCorps at December 14, 2005 10:56 PM

The descriptions of drug task force no-knock raids that I have heard first hand, from folks being raided and from the LEO side make it sound like it's very confusing. When six to ten policemen are yelling, you can't tell WHAT is being said according to both sides.

A friend of mine, who was raided by a drug task force looking for a meth lab, (no arrest, no drugs, no lab.) said he heard glass and doors breaking, he ran downstairs naked, and ten screaming men in facemasks in his living room pointed M4s at him. He and his wife were thrown on the floor, stood on, handcuffed, photographed and kept naked while the house was trashed by LEOs who refused to ID themselves. The search warrant had neither an address nor items to be searched for on it. (It's sealed, they say) The search warrant lists no court and the signature of the magistrate who signed it is illegible.

His firearms were all stolen, 10+ rifles and pistols, and not recovered yet, two years later. He did get a receipt written on a torn piece of grocery sack. They were finally allowed to get dressed. Nothing was found and by mid-morning the police packed up and left. No repairs were ever made and his requests for compensation ignored.

Oh, it turned out the neighbor across the creek sent the SWAT team. The neighbor is the local federal prosecutor. He wants to buy the property.

I think my friends experience is pretty standard. Every agency he contacted said the raid was under the supervision of ANOTHER agency. When he identified the court they said the warrant was sealed and he would have to file in court with a lawyer to read it.

40,000 of these raids a year? I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted by: Robert at December 15, 2005 08:56 PM

Would it have made it better if he came down with a gun in hand? Nope, cause then they'd both be dead. Resitance is futile my friend.
All I know is I'd like to live the rest of my life without .223in and 9mm holes in me.

Posted by: Andy D at December 15, 2005 09:45 PM


You acknowledge that evil exists, yet do nothing?

I may not know what is the best way to respond to evil, but you can be sure I will respond to it. I'll be damned if I will become another rubber hose contributing to the destruction of liberty.

"There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who shoves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube.

Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged


Posted by: FishOrMan at December 17, 2005 12:09 AM

Let's not overstate the case. No-knock raids may be stupid, or unjustifiable, or pointless... but they are NOT "evil", and to use that word when REAL evil is available for daily review (try reading the transcripts of Saddam Hussein's trial- or Anton Ceaucescu's) weakens your arguements with hysterics.

PS- live men can sue (for invasion of property, violations of rights, et cetera), and if enough of them do they can force changes. Dean men can't. If you're dead only the other guy's side of the story gets told. If you're in prison for killing a cop, it's diffucult to get your side of the story even listened to (go ask Maye). Robert's case provides a good example: it's easy to spout gunst@re-commando rhetoric, but how would taking a shot at those cops have left Robert's friend or his wife in any kind of better situation?

--the word 'st@re' is banned, totally? Wait till I tell George Carlin!

Posted by: DaveP. at December 17, 2005 05:36 AM


We can choice to respectfully disagree on this issue. You see, I take the destruction of liberty as "evil."

But, I take the middle ground that Andy appears to stand on as especially EVIL.

"Resitance is futile..."

Even you claim we should resist through our current "justice" system. Can't say I hold much faith in it, when our current "justice" system now condemns this man to death! But, hey, at least you are willing to resist in some fashion.

Posted by: FishOrMan at December 17, 2005 02:41 PM

HardCorps, we do live under Prohibition. It's just drugs, not booze.

I have to side with Publicola on this one-anyone breaking my door down in the middle of the night is going to be met by gunfire. I know I haven't committed any crime, thus the cops have no reason to be breaking down my door. Thus, I assume that it is criminals pretending to be cops. Even if they're yelling police, unless I see flashing blue/red lights outside, and get the 911 operator to tell me that there's a raid in progress at my address, I'm not going to believe them.

And if you think the perps are going to flush the evidence, how tough is it to put a man in a hazmat suit in the sewer where the house pipe meets the main?

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian at December 21, 2005 10:54 PM
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