U.S. Supreme Court Grants Stay of Execution for Glossip, Delaying May 18 Execution for Now

PC: David
Via Flickr Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

By Marisol Franco

WASHINGTON, DC – Late this past Friday, the attorneys for Richard Glossip, who was scheduled to be executed by the state of Oklahoma on May 18, filed a new petition for writ of certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Later in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Richard Glossip a stay of execution.

Glossip’s attorney Don Knight stated, “We are very grateful to the U.S. Supreme Court for doing the right thing in stopping Richard Glossip’s unlawful execution. There is nothing more harrowing than the thought of executing a man who the State now admits has never received a fair trial.  Thankfully, for the time being, Mr. Glossip is out of peril.  Our hope is that the Court will reverse the decision of the OCCA and vacate Mr. Glossip’s conviction once and for all.”

His attorneys asked the Court to “accept what the State’s chief law enforcement officer recognizes: that Mr. Glossip’s conviction is a grave miscarriage of justice, and to execute him would be an unthinkable, irreversible travesty.”

Glossip has stated that his capital conviction is so full of errors that the State of Oklahoma has lost interest in defending it, meaning a reversal is required, said the defense.

The State Attorney General, Gentner Drummond, confessed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) of the state’s errors in a fair trial for Glossip, maintained the defense, adding, “But the OCCA has refused to stop the execution of an innocent man who never had a fair trial.” 

The prime source of evidence connecting Glossip to the murder is a testimony by Justin Sneed, the real killer of Barry Van Treese, charged the defense, which explains “Sneed only accused Mr. Glossip of having hired him to commit the murder after having heard Glossip’s name six times by detectives, informing Sneed that Mr. Glossip was ‘putting it on [Sneed] the worst’ and suggesting his cooperation would result in leniency.” 

Glossip, who has now been on death row in the state of Oklahoma for 25 years, has gone through eight reschedulings of his execution since 2015. This is his ninth.

As stated by John Mills, one of Glossip’s attorneys, “If the State’s chief law enforcement officer thinks Richard Glossip’s conviction is unreliable and based on the misconduct of those he is in charge of, the State should not be permitted to execute him. The U.S. Supreme Court should do what the law and common sense require and stop this execution.”

Glossip—a man with no previous criminal record, no reports of misconduct during his time served in prison and who has maintained innocence for his 25 years on death row—has gained the support of A.G. Drummond and 62 Oklahoma legislators, with at least 45 of them being pro-death penalty Republican politicians, reports the defense.

Defense Attorney Knight said, “The historically unprecedented opposition of Attorney General Drummond, many Republican legislators, and growing numbers of everyday Oklahomans and people worldwide to Richard Glossip’s execution makes his innocence case different from any other. It would be shocking and wrong for the State to execute him when there is such a widespread consensus that Rich’s conviction cannot be trusted.”

The defense said the State had suppressed Sneed’s testimony, failing to correct that he was under the care of a psychiatrist. The submitted petition argues there was a violation of due process under Brady v. Maryland, a case that requires the prosecution to submit any evidence that may exonerate the defendant.

The Petition claims: “Even at this late stage of his case, the State has only recently disclosed evidence showing it knew its critical witness, Justin Sneed, was lying and yet did not correct the record for the jury. The State agrees this failure, and the cumulative effect of the other errors in this case, require a new trial before Mr. Glossip can be punished at all, let alone put to death.”

When Glossip submitted a request for a Stay of Execution with the SCOTUS, Oklahoma AG Drummond filed a Response in support of his application. In the Response, Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General appointed by George W. Bush, is representing Oklahoma.

The Response states: “Absent this Court’s intervention, an execution will move forward under circumstances where the Attorney General has already confessed error—a result that would be unthinkable. In those unprecedented circumstances, this Court should grant the application for a stay of execution.”

Although the attorney general agreed that Mr. Glossip had been wrongly convicted, Glossip proceeded to file the state’s paperwork in preparation for his own execution on May 18, 2023.

Additionally, on April 26, Glossip had an unconstitutional clemency hearing, charged the defense.

According to the Oklahoma constitution, there needs to be five members on the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. However, Mr. Glossip only had four on his Board, making it a split 2-2 decision that resulted in his denial of clemency. Glossip has filed a lawsuit in the Oklahoma County District Court asking the Court to declare the clemency hearing null and void.

In January, AG Drummond set up an Independent Counsel to review Glossip’s case, according to the defense.

The investigation was run by an ad hoc group of Republican Oklahoma state legislators by the international law firm Reed Smith. They revealed that with the evidence available today,  Glossip would not be guilty of murder for hire, the defense said.

Attorney General Drummond stated, “After thorough and serious deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot stand behind the murder conviction and death sentence of Richard Glossip.” He then went on to ask OCCA to remand the case to the district court. However, his request was denied by the OCCA on April 20.

Knight adds, “We are deeply thankful to the many courageous people in Oklahoma, especially Attorney General Gentner Drummond, Reps McDugle and Humphrey, and the many legislators in Oklahoma who have taken a deeper look at Mr. Glossip’s case and stood in opposition to the execution of this innocent man.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for