Glossip Case Update of May 3: Richard Glossip Asks District Court to Void April’s Short-Handed Clemency Hearing and Stop His May 18 Execution

Publisher’s NOTE: is creating an archive of the recent developments in the Richard Glossip case and the surrounding controversy. This installment from the Glossip defense team viewed developments in early May 2023. We will be adding to this material in the days and weeks to come. For this sequence of posts, the information is primarily from the Glossip defense team.

Oklahoma City — [As of May 2], Oklahoma death row prisoner Richard Glossip asked the Oklahoma County District Court to declare null and void the clemency hearing conducted on April 26, 2023, by just four of the five members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board (OPPB), which fell a single vote shy of the majority required under the Oklahoma Constitution to recommend clemency to the Governor.

This challenge aims to prevent the Oklahoma Department of Corrections from executing Mr. Glossip until he “is afforded a constitutional Clemency Hearing conducted by five impartial appointed or duly acting/substitute Members of the OPPB secured pursuant to revisions to 57 O.S. § 332.2 of the Oklahoma Statutes and Section 515 of the OAC or other statutory provisions under Oklahoma law.” (Amended Petition p. 13).

[The May 2] filing is an amendment to a lawsuit filed two days before the clemency hearing, challenging the OPPB’s failure to seat an impartial replacement member to ensure Mr. Glossip’s clemency hearing was held before a full, five-member Board, as required under the Oklahoma Constitution.

Mr. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on May 18 despite serious doubts about his conviction, including the Oklahoma Attorney General’s acknowledgment that the conviction should be vacated.

OPPB member Richard Smothermon is married to the lead prosecutor in Mr. Glossip’s case, a prosecution riddled with misconduct claims that have emerged only in recent months from belated disclosures by the State. Mr. Smothermon properly recused himself due to this clear conflict of interest, but the split 2-2 vote at Mr. Glossip’s clemency hearing resulted in a denial that precludes Governor Kevin Stitt from granting clemency.

The lawsuit argues that the absence of any mechanism to replace the conflicted Board member denies Mr. Glossip due process by increasing his burden of persuasion to a short-handed Board.

“The State of Oklahoma has already agreed that Richard Glossip was denied a fair trial and, to add further insult to his constitutional rights, he has now been denied a fair clemency hearing,” said his attorney, Don Knight. “The Board’s split decision is precisely the outcome this lawsuit sought to avoid, and it underscores the grave injustice of allowing Rich’s execution to proceed without a proper clemency hearing before a fully constituted Board.”

Note: Pat McGuigan, who prepared this posting for an ‘archive’ of Glossip case material, is the publisher of Founded in 2009, 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 is his permanent archive for much of that work.