SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Richard Glossip Case

Oklahoma inmate has narrowly avoided execution multiple times
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2024 12:44 PM CST
SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Richard Glossip Case
This photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Richard Glossip on Feb. 19, 2021.   (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

Lawyers for death row inmate Richard Glossip have told Supreme Court justices they face "a stark choice: whether the state of Oklahoma can execute a person who its chief law enforcement officer believes is wrongly convicted because of state misconduct." The court said Monday that it has agreed to take up the case of Glossip, whose execution it put on hold in May, reports CBS News. It was the third time that Glossip, who has been on death row in Oklahoma for more than 25 years, had his execution called off at the last minute. The 60-year-old's request for the Supreme Court to review his case describes his conviction as "so infected with errors that the state no longer seeks to defend it."

Glossip was convicted in 1998 of the 1997 murder of his boss, Barry Van Treese, at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City. The killing was carried out by handyman Justin Sneed, a drug user who claimed Glossip had promised to pay him $10,000, the Washington Post reports. Sneed was sentenced to life in prison under a deal with prosecutors. Gentner Drummond, Oklahoma's Republican attorney general, said in a filing supporting Glossip's request for the Supreme Court to take up the case that jurors were never told about Sneed's "serious psychiatric condition." He said it would likely have affected their opinion on his credibility, especially when his "known and extensive illicit drug use" was taken into account.

After the Supreme Court blocked the May execution, an Oklahoma appeals court rejected Drummond's request to vacate the conviction and order a new trial. "That decision cannot be the final word in this case," Drummond told the Supreme Court, per the Post. "The injustice of allowing a capital sentence to be carried out where the conviction was occasioned by the government's own admitted failings would be nigh unfathomable." The AP reports that the case will be heard this fall by eight justices. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was involved with the case at an earlier stage as an appeals court judge, has recused himself. (More Richard Glossip stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.