Los Angeles (May 8, 2008) – Drew Carey’s newest Reason.tv video tells the tragic story of Cory Maye and Ron Jones. Maye was in his home late at night with his one-year-old daughter. A stranger kicked down his door and barged into his daughter’s dark bedroom. Maye shot and killed the intruder – just as millions of other Americans would.
But it turned out the intruder was actually Police Officer Ron Jones, raiding the home for drugs. Maye had no criminal record or past. The police did not find any drugs in his home at the time, but a few days later claimed to have found small amounts of marijuana. Police found marijuana, crack cocaine residue and scales at Maye’s next-door neighbor’s home, but never charged that person with a crime.
Instead of the cops admitting they had the wrong part of the duplex, received bad information from an unreliable confidential informant, and that Maye was protecting his family and acting in self-defense, they charged him with capital murder. Maye was convicted and sentenced to death. Thanks in part to the reporting of Reason magazine’s Radley Balko, Maye’s sentence was later reduced to life in prison.
“Despite 100 years of heavy social and financial costs, and no indication that victory is attainable, the U.S. government continues to wage its war on drugs,” says Drew Carey in the Reason.tv video. Carey calls Maye and Jones “two of the countless casualties of the war on drugs.”
“Cory Maye did what most Americans would do,” states Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.tv. “He thought someone was breaking into his home and he protected his family. The real villain here is the war on drugs. The war on drugs sent an innocent man to jail for the rest of his life. Cory’s two children now have to grow up without their father. And a police officer is dead. The war on drugs is failing on every front and it is time to end it.”
“Cory Maye’s story puts a heartbreaking human face on the drug war,” says Reason magazine’s Radley Balko, who has covered the case in-depth for several years. “It also illustrates many overlooked problems with the American criminal justice system, including the increasingly aggressive tactics police use to fight the drug war, lingering racism, problems with inadequate defense counsel, biased forensic experts, and the continuing debate over the death penalty. Cory Maye shouldn’t be in prison. His continuing incarceration, along with the death of Officer Ron Jones, is the result of a number of flawed policies that have claimed an incalculable number of victims, and will continue to claim more unless America reexamines its failed war on drugs.”
Full Video Online
The Reason.tv Drew Carey video, Mississippi Drug War Blues: The Case of Cory Maye, is online at http://reason.tv/video/show/403.html. An archive of Drew Carey’s Reason.tv videos are here http://reason.tv/featuredvids/.
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Radley Balko, Senior Editor, Reason magazine, (703) 507-2631
Chris Mitchell, Director of Communications, Reason Foundation, (310) 367-6109