In 2001, this man, Cory Maye of Prentiss, Mississippi, put his 18 month old daughter to bed and sat down to watch TV. When an armed SWAT team began to break down his door, he fired three bullets from the gun he kept for self-defense. The cop in the lead, the Chief of Police's son, fell dead. He was white; as you can see, Maye was not.
Neither Maye nor his girlfriend were the people the cops were looking for. They'd broken down the wrong door. But a white cop had died and Maye was charged with capital murder. Like a lot of poor people, he was not well served by the lawyer his family managed to hire and in 2004 was convicted and sentenced to die.
The blogger and journalist Radley Balko spread the story of the innocent man on death row for defending his home across the internet. Many of us wrote about the case. Legal maneuvers by pro-bono lawyers continued. Today Balko reports that Maye has been allowed to plead to the crime he did commit -- manslaughter -- and will be released after credit for the ten years he has served. Every so often, some justice is done. Balko deserves a lot of credit for creating the buzz that made this possible.