Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cory Maye off death row

Judge Michael Eubanks has ruled that Cory Maye's defense attorney was incompetent at sentencing, which means he'll get a new sentencing trial. He ruled that she was competent for the trial. There are a number of other defense motions which have not yet been ruled on.

Radley Balko reports that he feels like he's been watching a movie attending the hearings--no doubt this story will become a book or a movie.

Also check out Balko's update on the informant whose testimony caused Maye's duplex to be raided by police in the first place.

1 comment:

supercat said...

I've read the transcripts of the hearing. It seems there are a few key issues that should clinch things, but the way the legal system works it's necessary to put forth all legal theories that might work, even if many of them are less relevant than others.

One thing that really bugged me in the initial affidavits for the warrants is that the only statement that was actually sworn to is that there was unusual traffic at the duplex. Since I am unware of any evidence that the Confidential Informant was sworn in before making his statements, his statments should not have played any role in the issuance of the warrant (the Constitution explicitly requires that warrants only be issued upon oath or affirmation). Allowing hearsay of statements not made under oath to be used as evidence for warrants would totally gut the oath or affirmation requirement.

Such argument would probably have had to have been made at the suppression hearing, though it might have been possible to make it at last week's hearing by asking the confidential informant if he was sworn in by Officer Jones. If he said that he was not, that would have opened up the door to reject the validity of his statments in the issuance of the warrant.

As for the other parts of the hearing, I felt it might have been good for the defense to make the point more often that its goal is to rebut the state's theory of the case. To establish reasonable doubt, it isn't necessary to prove via other evidence that things did happen as Cory Maye claims, but merely to prove that they could have happened that way; as it happens, the evidence shows Maye's version to be not only plausible, but far moreso than the state's version.

I do think the defense attorneys did well, though, to remind everyone that the prosecution's claim that the ballistic evidence contradicted Maye's story was central to its closing argument. It would be hard to argue that a jury's decision to convict someone after hearing such claims gives reason to believe that the jury would have convicted even without such claims. Indeed, if such claims weren't necessary for the prosecution, why did he say they were the cornerstone of the case?