WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court docket granted a keep of execution on Friday to Richard Glossip, a loss of life row inmate in Oklahoma, after the state’s legal professional normal, Gentner F. Drummond, a Republican, instructed the justices that he agreed that Mr. Glossip’s execution must be halted.
In a uncommon transfer, Mr. Drummond wrote that the state had “come to the tough however important conclusion that Glossip’s capital conviction is unsustainable and a brand new trial crucial.”
Attorneys name such statements “confessions of error,” and courts ordinarily give them nice weight. The keep issued by the Supreme Court docket will stay in place whereas the justices determine whether or not to listen to Mr. Glossip’s attraction, and in the event that they do, till they determine it.
As is customary in rulings on keep purposes, the court docket supplied no reasoning. There have been no public dissents. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch recused himself from the case however didn’t say why.
The court docket’s conservative majority is usually skeptical of requests for stays from loss of life row inmates, seeming to view them as merchandise of litigation gamesmanship meant to delay executions indefinitely. In January, nevertheless, the court docket gave Areli Escobar, a loss of life row inmate in Texas, a brand new likelihood to problem his conviction in gentle of a district legal professional’s confession of error after the invention of flawed DNA proof.
Oklahoma’s Supreme Court docket submitting was notable for a second purpose. The lead lawyer representing the state was Paul D. Clement, who was solicitor normal within the administration of George W. Bush and is a star of the Supreme Court docket bar, having argued greater than 100 circumstances earlier than the justices.
Don Knight, a lawyer for Mr. Glossip, thanked the court docket in a press release “for doing the precise factor.” He added, “There’s nothing extra harrowing than the considered executing a person who the state now admits has by no means obtained a good trial.”
In his personal assertion, Mr. Drummond stated he was “very grateful to the U.S. Supreme Court docket for his or her determination to grant a keep of execution,” including that he would “proceed working to make sure justice prevails on this essential case.”
Mr. Glossip, 60, was convicted based mostly on the testimony of, within the phrases of Oklahoma’s Supreme Court docket transient, “the state’s indispensable witness,” a handyman named Justin Sneed, who pleaded responsible to killing Barry Van Treese, the proprietor of a motel in Oklahoma Metropolis, beating him to loss of life in 1997 with a baseball bat.
Mr. Sneed, who obtained a life sentence, testified that Mr. Glossip, the motel’s supervisor, had instructed him to kill Mr. Van Treese.
Lately disclosed paperwork contradicted Mr. Sneed’s testimony about whether or not he had been handled by a psychiatrist, and so they appeared to indicate that he had been identified with bipolar affective dysfunction.
“Once I was arrested,” Mr. Sneed testified, “I requested for some Sudafed as a result of I had a chilly, however then shortly after that one way or the other they ended up giving me lithium for some purpose. I don’t know why. I by no means seen no psychiatrist or something.”
The truth is, the state’s transient stated: “Sneed had been handled by a psychiatrist in 1997. Additional, he was not prescribed lithium for a chilly. As an alternative, he was prescribed it to deal with his severe psychiatric situation that mixed along with his recognized methamphetamine use would have had an affect on his credibility and reminiscence recall along with inflicting him to grow to be doubtlessly violent or endure from paranoia.”
Prosecutors had purpose to know that Mr. Sneed’s testimony was false, the state’s transient stated. “Regardless of this information,” it stated, “the state permitted Sneed to successfully conceal his psychiatric situation and the rationale for his prior lithium prescription by means of materially false testimony to the jury.”
Mr. Drummond had made comparable arguments to the Oklahoma Court docket of Prison Appeals, the state’s highest court docket for prison issues, however that court docket unanimously rejected his confession of error. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board deadlocked by a 2-to-2 vote on Mr. Glossip’s request for a advice of clemency. His execution had been scheduled for Could 18.
Mr. Glossip has attracted assist from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and state lawmakers from each political events. Two impartial investigations have forged doubt on his guilt.