Glossip Case Update, as of May 1
Publisher’s NOTE: CapitolBeatOK.com is creating an archive of the recent development in the Richard Glossip case and surrounding controversy. This installment is a good summary and overview of developments through early this week. We will be adding to this material in the days and weeks to come. The information is primarily from the Glossip defense team.
On May 1, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a Response in support of Richard Glossip’s Stay of Execution application at the U.S. Supreme Court.
In that Response, Oklahoma is represented by Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General appointed by George W. Bush.
On April 26, 2023, attorneys for Richard Glossip, who has maintained his innocence throughout his 25 years on death row, filed an Unopposed Application for Stay of Execution with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Despite the Attorney General’s agreement that Mr. Glossip’s conviction is unreliable and should be vacated, for the ninth time, Mr. Glossip recently completed the state’s required paperwork in anticipation of his own execution on May 18, 2023.
And, in a recent 2-2 vote, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board failed to recommend that Mr. Glossip be granted clemency.
Mr. Clement served as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States from June 2005 until June 2008. Before his confirmation as Solicitor General, he served as Acting Solicitor General for nearly a year and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General for over three years.
Mr. Clement has argued over 100 cases before the United States Supreme Court and has argued more Supreme Court cases since 2000 than any lawyer in or out of government.
John Mills, an attorney for Richard Glossip, stated: “The profound problems with Mr. Glossip’s conviction have again garnered unprecedented support, this time coming from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, now represented by none other than Paul Clement. We hope that the Court will take notice and prevent the grave injustice that would come from executing an innocent man.”
In January, Attorney General Drummond announced that he was directing an Independent Counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of Mr. Glossip’s murder conviction and death sentence. An ad hoc group of Republican Oklahoma state legislators had previously called for an independent investigation, and commissioned their own that was conducted by the international law firm Reed Smith.
That investigation resulted in a finding that, if a jury was presented with all the evidence now available, no reasonable juror would find Mr. Glossip guilty of murder for hire.
At the conclusion of his Independent Counsel’s investigation, 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,” and he asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set aside Mr. Glossip’s conviction and remand the case to the district court. That request was denied on April 20.
Mr. Glossip’s Unopposed Application for Stay of Execution joins the petition for writ of certiorari, Glossip v. Oklahoma, filed in January 2023, which the Supreme Court has relisted numerous times.
An unusual group of amici filed briefs in support of relief for Mr. Glossip, including an Oklahoma legislator
This legislator is a self-described death penalty proponent.
Also, filing was a diverse group of prosecutors.
The prosecutors include a sitting member of the U.S. Congress as well as current and former elected District Attorneys, an Attorney General, line prosecutors, and, in one instance, the author of a state’s death penalty statute.
Mr. Glossip’s petition challenges Oklahoma’s treatment of his claims that the State illegally withheld evidence that would have bolstered his claims of innocence. Among other things, Oklahoma has used a standard that makes such claims all but impossible to prevail on if, as in his case, the key witness’s credibility was attacked at trial.
Here, the only evidence linking Mr. Glossip to the murder was testimony from the undisputed killer — Justin Sneed. Mr. Sneed claimed Mr. Glossip hired him to do the crime only after the State’s investigators suggested Mr. Glossip’s name six times, informing Mr. Sneed that Mr. Glossip was “putting it on [Sneed] the worst” and suggesting his cooperation would result in leniency.
The state court’s most recent decision underscores an important point Mr. Glossip makes in the Supreme Court petition and stay application: the emphasis on procedural rules “should not obscure the stakes: the execution of an innocent person,” and “[t]he basis for reaching the merits is now even stronger because the State no longer seeks to defend the conviction.” (pp. 9-10, Stay Application).
Note: Pat McGuigan is the publisher of CapitolBeatOK.com. Founded in 2009, CapitolBeatOK.com is an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news organization based in Oklahoma City. The news service, provided free of charge, is primarily but not exclusively focused on state and local government in Oklahoma, although national and international political news is also covered. Additionally, Pat McGuigan monitors cultural, artistic and other news, as time permits, and CapitolBeatOK.com is his permanent archive for much of that work.