Oklahoma AG Files Brief With U.S. Supreme Court To Halt Glossip's Execution

Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a brief on Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, explaining why the execution of death row inmate Richard Glossip should be halted.

Tuesday, April 23rd 2024, 4:42 pm

By: News 9


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Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a brief on Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court, explaining why the execution of death row inmate Richard Glossip should be halted.

In a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, it said that in the brief Drummond shared why the execution of Glossip should be halted and that his conviction remanded back to district court.

The release also stated that Drummond says that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals engaged in a “flawed whitewashing of federal constitutional violations”.

Related Coverage:

  1. Oklahoma's Own In Focus: The Richard Glossip Case
  2. The Supreme Court Will Consider Overturning Richard Glossip’s Murder Conviction In Oklahoma

The full release can be read here:

“Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court detailing why the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip should be halted and his conviction remanded back to district court.
The brief points to the “remarkable and remarkably flawed decision” by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) in April 2023 to uphold Glossip’s conviction and death sentence for the 1997 murder of Barry Van Treese despite the State’s confession of prosecutorial misconduct. Specifically, Drummond said Glossip’s prosecutors committed a Brady violation by not sharing potentially exculpatory evidence with the defendant and violated Napue by knowingly allowing false testimony that prevented Glossip from receiving due process.
By dismissing this extraordinary confession by the State, Drummond contends, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals engaged in a “flawed whitewashing of federal constitutional violations.”
The case against Glossip hinged on testimony by the man who bludgeoned to death Barry Van Treese in 1997 but said Glossip – who admitted to helping cover up the murder – paid him to kill. Both men worked at the Oklahoma City motel owned by Van Treese. In exchange for the testimony, the star witness and admitted murderer was sentenced to life in prison without parole, while Glossip received a death sentence.
In court testimony, this witness falsely claimed he was not receiving medical treatment for mental issues when prosecutors knew he had been prescribed lithium for a psychiatric condition. Evidence indicates prosecutors knew the testimony was a lie but allowed it to stand.
Today’s filing notes that the OCCA instead suggested “that Glossip somehow was aware of the withheld evidence during his trial and that the critical testimony was not actually ‘false’ because the witness was ‘more than likely in denial of his mental health disorders,’” a conclusion that the brief suggests was reached by “gold-medal doctrinal gymnastics.”
“Dismissing violations of those constitutional bedrocks on the ground that suitably skeptical and intrepid defense counsel should have assumed the government was concealing and prevaricating and gotten to the truth anyways eviscerates those bedrock precedents,” states the filing. “And the notion that a reasonable factfinder would have ignored evidence that the prosecution’s star witness was suffering from a serious mental illness and committed perjury is equally unfathomable.”
The Attorney General’s Office is being represented before the high court by Paul Clement, former U.S. Solicitor General under the presidential administration of George W. Bush.
Glossip was convicted of first-degree murder in 1998. The OCCA later overturned the conviction for ineffective assistance of counsel, but he was again convicted and sentenced to death at a 2004 retrial, when the star witness provided false testimony.
With the case long mired in controversy, Drummond began seeking answers shortly after taking office. He learned that the State had withheld specific materials from Glossip’s defense team. The Attorney General quickly provided access to these items, referred to as “Box 8,” and appointed an independent counsel to review the case.
Read the filing here.”

Supreme Court Hearing Richard Glossip’s Appeal

The US Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal for the case of Richard Glossip, who has been on death row since his conviction in 1997.

Related: The Timeline For Richard Glossip’s Case

The Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for Glossip in May, 2023, just a few days before he was scheduled to be put to death. The Court is now reviewing the appeals filed by Glossip’s attorneys.

Related: The Supreme Court Will Consider Overturning Richard Glossip’s Murder Conviction in Oklahoma

Glossip’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court to hear the case in May after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied their request to overturn his conviction.

Related: Richard Glossip’s Attorneys Ask Supreme Court To Review Okla. Court Of Criminal Appeals Ruling

Attorney General Gentner Drummond also asked the Supreme Court to hear Glossip’s case in May.

"The prospect of executing an individual based on a conviction that the prosecutor believes is constitutionally flawed is all but unthinkable," the state wrote in its application to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay Glossip's execution.

Related: AG Drummond Asks Supreme Court For Glossip’s Stay Of Execution

Glossip’s Appeals

Richard Glossip has been on Death Row for nearly 25 years and nearly executed multiple times. 

Related: Oklahoma Pardon And Parole Board Denies Clemency For Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip

Glossip has maintained his innocence. Prosecutors say he paid another man, Justin Sneed, to kill Barry Van Treese. The case was based largely on the testimony of Sneed, who agreed to testify against Glossip in order to avoid the death penalty for himself.

Related: Oklahoma Attorney General Seeking More Time In Richard Glossip Case

A recent investigation commissioned by a group of Republican lawmakers revealed Sneed had several times asked about recanting his testimony.

Related: ‘There’s So Many Things With This Case That Are Just Wrong’: Rep. McDugle On Glossip Case 

Following that investigation, Drummond appointed a special council to conduct a "thorough review" of the case. That special council was led by Rex Duncan, a former Republican state representative and two-term Osage County District Attorney. 

"Circumstances surrounding this case necessitate a thorough review," Drummond said at the time. "While I am confident in our judicial system, that does not allow me to ignore evidence. This review helps ensure that justice is served, both to the Van Treese family and the accused."

Related: ‘I Don’t Deserve To Die For This’: Glossip Clemency Denied

Support For Richard Glossip

Through the years, many people have expressed their support for Glossip. 

Related: Rally Held In Support Of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip At Oklahoma Capitol

Dr. Phil has been outspoken on the topic and even spoke at the Oklahoma Capitol.

"This would be a terrible miscarriage of justice," Dr. Phil said. "I don’t care if you’re pro-death penalty or not, everyone agrees that we should absolutely get this right. There is substantial doubt regarding Richard Glossip."

Related: Dr. Phil To Speak At State Capitol In Support Of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip

Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean has spoken in Glossip’s defense multiple times.

Prejean was portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the movie “Dead Man Walking" and she has long been a vocal opponent of the death penalty, counseling everyone from politicians to Popes on the topic.

Related: Sister Helen Prejean Discusses Richard Glossip Case

Kim Kardashian released a statement on Twitter calling on the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to grant clemency for Death Row inmate Richard Glossip.

“Richard Glossip needs our help, urgently! He has been on Oklahoma’s death row for 24 years for a crime he did not commit,” the tweet read in part.

Related: Kim Kardashian Shares Tweet In Support Of Death Row Inmate Richard Glossip

Hearing From The Victims 

The clemency hearing for Death Row inmate Richard Glossip included tearful testimonies from family about what life has been like for the last 26 years without Barry Van Treese. 

Both Van Treese and Glossip's families agree his murder was heinous but disagree on who should pay for the crime.

Related: ‘We Have Been Through More Than Our Share’: Victims’ Family Speaks Out During Glossip Clemency Hearing

The Van Treese family spoke to News 9 in 2015 about the impact the murder of Barry Van Treese had on their lives.

Related: Family Of Victim In Richard Glossip Case Previously Talked About Impact Of Murder

"You live with the consequences of your actions, and the death penalty in Oklahoma is the consequence of taking somebody else's life or causing someone else to take someone else's life. That's the law," said Ken Van Treese, brother of the victim.

"There'll never be closure to this, really. You know, this is a fact of life that every member of my family, every member of Barry's family, we live this on a daily basis," Donna Van Treese said.

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