Military Vets/US Attorneys Comment on Prosecutorial Misconduct and the Call for Justice: The Case of Richard Glossip


By Elina Sadeghina

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKTwo former military veterans and U.S. Attorneys in Oklahoma City recently penned a guest column for the Oklahoma City “Oklahoman” and other U.S. newspapers, providing profound insights into the critical importance of justice within the American criminal justice system.

With a specific focus on the case of death row inmate Richard Glossip, they shed light on the significance of fairness, transparency, and the unwavering commitment to principles when prosecuting criminal cases.

During their tenure, Ryan played a pivotal role in prosecuting some of the nation’s most prominent cases, including the devastating Oklahoma City bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

They successfully sought a change of venue to Denver, Colorado, in order to secure a fair jury selection process. And also emphasized the importance of transparency, striving to disclose all evidence before and during the trial to achieve an accurate and just conviction that would withstand potential appeals.

“As ministers of justice, we firmly believed that our duty was not only to win a case, but to ensure justice is served. We aimed to create an atmosphere of fairness and integrity throughout the entire process,” the prosecutors write.

Drawing parallels between his past experiences and the case of Richard Glossip, they revealed profound concerns about a significant departure from these principles.

Recently, it was brought to light that fundamental tenets were disregarded in obtaining Glossip’s 1998 and 2004 convictions, as well as his subsequent death sentences, noted the two attorneys, arguing the disturbing concealment of critical evidence by the state undermined the fairness of the trials.

The prosecutors uncovered the shocking truth behind the withheld evidence related to Justin Sneed, the state’s key witness and the actual perpetrator of Glossip’s case. The concealed evidence revealed that Sneed had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had a history of methamphetamine use, and was prescribed lithium to address a severe mental health condition.

However, the jury was intentionally misled to believe that Sneed had never seen a psychiatrist, had no mental health issues, and was mistakenly prescribed lithium for an unrelated reason.

“The deliberate suppression of critical information concerning Sneed’s mental condition significantly impacted Glossip’s trial. The jury was denied the opportunity to evaluate his testimony accurately,” the columnists wrote.

“If the state had played fair and allowed the jurors to know the truth about Sneed’s mental condition, they may have had reasonable doubt about Sneed’s testimony that Mr. Glossip had a role in planning the murder,” they said in their guest column.

Ryan and Webbers note that earlier this year, an independent investigation commissioned by Attorney General Gentner Drummond brought the concealed evidence to the forefront. Upon discovering these grave violations, AG Drummond took decisive action, seeking to halt Glossip’s execution and calling for a new fair trial that would enable the jury to assess all relevant evidence.

Webber and Ryan wholeheartedly supported the attorney general’s stance, emphasizing the constitutional requirement for justice to prevail when the AG emphasized the gravity of the situation, asserting that proceeding with the execution under such circumstances would be “unthinkable.”

Reflecting on the broader implications, Ryan and Webber underscored the disconcerting statistics unveiled by the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) – the NRE’s analysis of over 3,300 exonerations since 1989 indicated a substantial role of state misconduct in false convictions, including witness tampering, interrogation misconduct, evidence fabrication, concealing exculpatory evidence, and trial misconduct.

“It is deeply troubling that four out of the five types of misconduct identified in Glossip’s trials were concealed until recently. We must confront this distressing reality and address the prevalent issue of prosecutorial misconduct,” Webber and Ryan wrote.


About The Author

Elina is a freshman at UC Davis double majoring in International relations as well as Cinema and Digital media. She is passionate about protecting fundamental human rights and helping raise awareness about various social issues through journalism. Elina is bilingual in both Farsi and English.

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