WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an Oklahoma death row inmate’s claim that his conviction was legally wrong, in a rare case in which the state’s attorney general acknowledged in court that a key testimony was problematic.
Richard Glossip, now 60, was found guilty of organizing the murder of his boss at the Oklahoma City motel where they worked in 1997.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, a Republican, supported Glossip’s appeal, but the state disagreed with Glossip’s claim of innocence. Even if convicted, Glossip could face a retrial.
Supreme Court in May last year entered To prevent the execution of Glossip.
The court had been debating whether to hear Glossip’s appeal since September. In a brief order Monday, the court said it will consider an additional legal question: whether Glossip has grounds to challenge his conviction under Oklahoma law.
The order also states that Judge Neil Gorsuch will not participate in the case. The court did not give a reason, but it is likely related to his previous role as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which hears cases from Oklahoma.
The state, Drummond said in court filings, “has concluded that Glossip’s conviction and death sentence cannot stand, based on a careful review of newly revealed information regarding prosecutorial misconduct and cumulative error during Glossip’s trial.”
Glossip’s attorneys have raised concerns about key testimony in the 1997 case of murderer Justin Snead. Sneed testified that Glossip hired him to kill motel owner Barry Van Treese.
But it turned out that prosecutors withheld information about Sneed and had him testify falsely in court.
“Even at this late stage in his case, with Mr. Glossip facing nine execution dates, new evidence continues to emerge that Mr. Glossip knew full well that the evidence used to convict and sentence him to death was falsified,” Glossip’s attorneys said. wrote and appealed to the Supreme Court.
An independent investigation commissioned by Drummond found, among other things, that Glossip’s second trial in 2004 did not disclose that Sneed was being treated for a serious psychiatric condition.
Drummond said in court documents that Glossip’s conviction “depends almost entirely on Sneed’s credibility.”
Despite Drummond’s statement, he believed Glossip should be convicted thrown out Oklahoma appellate court for due process violations defended Earlier this year, the death penalty and the state’s parole and parole board voted against Grant of Glossip Pardon.
The Supreme Court previously blocked Glossip’s execution in separate litigation in 2015 over whether the state’s execution protocol was unconstitutional. Finally, the trial decided against Glossip and two other Oklahoma death row inmates.
The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, rarely grants stays of execution, and some justices have criticized lawyers for filing last-minute requests for death row inmates.