If you’ve read anything at all about this case, I’d urge you to take a look at the brief. I realize that a brief’s legal effectiveness is a very different thing than its general pursuasiveness, particularly briefs filed in almost perfunctory post-trial motions like this one. Since I’m not really qualified to comment on its legal merits, I’ll keep my comments limited to its general pursuasiveness.The brief, from Bob Evans, Orin Kerr, and attorneys at D.C. firm Covington and Burling, is here (PDF). There's also a forensics review here (Word doc), and a review of the autopsy report of Officer Jones here (PDF).
To that end, it’s devastating. The difference between the top-notch legal representation Cory Maye has now and the minimal representation he had at trial is striking (and frightening, given the stakes). I can’t see anyone reading this thing through and still believing that Maye is the slightest bit guilty, much less that he should be executed. At worst, you could perhaps make the case that Maye acted recklessly, and might have been tried for manslaughter. I wouldn’t agree. But I probably wouln’t be making trips to Mississippi to investigate, or blathering endlessly on my blog, either. Of course, I still think the guy should not only be released from prison, but compensated.
I've had the pleasure of meeting and briefly working with some Covington and Burling attorneys in the past (though none of the ones who worked on this brief), and found them to be incredibly bright and professional people. They also won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Fax.com, which makes them good guys in my book.