Thursday, December 22, 2005

Mr. Free Cory Maye has the trial transcripts...

... and a couple of things stick out (to this non-attorney)...

First, many of those rallying round Maye have focused on the circumstances of the police search, the warrant that was issued for the search, that a (supposedly) inexperienced police officer led the search into Maye's apartment and so on... in other words, they focus on what the police did, not on Maye's actions that night. Indeed, the defense attorney, in her closing statement, makes much about the police having made mistakes with regards to the whole episode and how the jury "cannot judge Cory Maye, not here, not now, by a higher standard than that of the Prentiss Police Department" (page 20 of this particular section of the transcript - the italics are mine).

This is a silly argument... the question is what Cory Maye did and whether it was justifiable. The police were not on trial. Mistakes they may have made in procuring a search warrant had no bearing at all on whether Cory Maye was justified in shooting the police officer. Arguing that Cory Maye ought to be acquited because of a mistake the police may have made is akin to arguing that a rapist ought to walk free because the victim made a mistake in walking down the dark street. And, from what I have read so far of the trial transcript, I see no reason to condemn the jury as having made a mistake in determining that Cory Maye was not justified in shooting the police officer.

Second, Radley earlier had cast stones in the direction of Dr. Steven Hayne, the medical examiner who testifed at trial. Radley described Hayne's testimony as "crucial in securing Maye's conviction", adding "his testimony about the trajectory of the bullet found in Jones' body cast doubt on Maye's version of how the raid transpired. Maye's current lawyer, Bob Evans, thinks jurors dismissed just about everything Cory Maye said after hearing Hayne's testimony.".

Notwithstanding what I will admit is an odd story about Hayne's testimony in another - and unrelated - case, I see NOTHING in Hayne's testimony in this case that would make me vote to acquit. Hayne testified to the fact that the police officer was killed by a gunshot wound and he testified to the position of the entry wound and the path the bullet took in the body. He also testified that, for the bullet to have entered the body where it did and to have traveled downward at a 20 degree angle (page 40 of this particular section of the transcript), that the deceased would have to have been bent over at almost an impossible angle for the bullet to have been fired from a shooter lying on the floor as Cory Maye claimed he had done.

Note: I know it may be hard to follow from my words, so I suggest you read the transcript and, if need be, take out one of your kid's dolls and stage the angles yourself... but the crux of the matter is that someone lying on the floor can't hit a target above the belly button and have the bullet go downward unless they're shooting at someone who is almost parallel to the floor themselves... and the more likely scenario is that the shooter was standing at the time he fired the gun.

Given this, I too, had I been on the jury, would have disregarded Cory Maye's claims to have been lying on the ground when he shot at the police officer.

While I haven't finished reading the transcripts, I - for now - am standing by my earlier position that there is no justification to set aside the verdict...


Previous Maye posts: here, here and here