New Amicus Brief Filings: Republican Attorney General, GOP Legislators Agree SCOTUS Should Vacate Richard Glossip’s Conviction

By Yana Singhal

WASHINGTON, DC – In the ongoing U.S. Supreme Court case, an amicus brief argues Richard Glossip has been on “Oklahoma’s death row for more than two decades even though it is undisputed that another man, Justin Sneed, committed the murder for which Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death.”

In the same fillings, it was noted that “both Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond and Glossip ask the Supreme Court to send the case back to state court for a new trial” because the “Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals refused to accept the State’s confession of constitutional error and affirmative waiver of procedural bar.”

Oklahoma AG Drummond’s brief underscores the “remarkable and remarkably flawed decision” by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) in April 2023, which upheld Glossip’s conviction and death sentence despite the state’s acknowledgment of prosecutorial misconduct.

According to the amicus brief filings, Drummond asserts after “AG Drummond discovered long-suppressed evidence after he took office in 2023, he concluded that the State had violated the Supreme Court’s decisions in Brady v. Maryland (1963) by withholding exculpatory evidence and Napue v. Illinois (1959) by knowingly presenting false testimony at Mr. Glossip’s trials.”

In his filing, Drummond emphasizes the importance of these violations in questioning the credibility of Justin Sneed, the primary witness against Glossip, who himself admitted to the murder.

Rejecting the OCCA’s dismissal of the State’s admission of error, Drummond argues that executing Glossip under these circumstances would constitute a grave miscarriage of justice.

The amicus brief filings also note “Glossip’s brief details the withheld evidence of Sneed’s serious psychiatric problems and false trial testimony denying a history of mental illness.”

Represented by prominent legal figures, Paul Clement and Seth Waxman, both sides urged the Supreme Court to vacate Glossip’s conviction and death sentence, despite their usual adversarial positions.

Additionally, several amicus briefs lend support to the joint position of Glossip and the State.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli condemned the prosecutorial misconduct as “egregious” and warns against the dire consequences of failing to rectify Glossip’s situation and mentions how he and his partners would  “routinely reviewed convictions to ensure that defendants were not wrongfully convicted—with a special emphasis on capital convictions.”

Republican Oklahoma legislators, in their brief, acknowledge the severity of the misconduct uncovered in Glossip’s case and stress the necessity of ensuring strict adherence to constitutional and legal protections, even in capital cases.

The bipartisan Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission, chaired by former Gov. Brad Henry and former U.S. Magistrate Judge Andy Lester, note in the amicus brief filings that, while they support the death penalty, they also believe a death sentence “should be carried out only subject to the strict constitutional and other legal protections that apply to all criminal defendants, especially those against whom the State seeks to impose the most severe and final punishment–death.”

Both Glossip and Oklahoma agree there is no procedural barrier to granting relief in this case. They argue the OCCA erred in disregarding the State’s waiver of any procedural obstacles to Glossip’s claims of prosecutorial misconduct, emphasizing the importance of ensuring justice is served, even if it means revisiting past decisions.

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.

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