Richard Glossip

Richard Glossip, who has maintained his innocence after being convicted of a 1997 murder, was granted a stay of execution by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 5, 2023.

(Photo: @SaveRichardGlossip/Twitter)

Richard Glossip Gets Stay of Execution From US Supreme Court

"There is nothing more harrowing than the thought of executing a man who the state now admits has never received a fair trial," said a lawyer for Glossip.

Anti-death penalty campaigners applauded Friday as the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution in the case of Richard Glossip, a death row inmate who has maintained he had nothing to do with the 1997 murder of his boss at a motel in Oklahoma City.

Glossip's case has been a focus of rights advocates for years, and Oklahoma's Republican attorney general, Gentner Drummond, has recently joined efforts to stop his execution, which had been scheduled for May 18.

Justice Neil Gorsuch recused himself because he previously heard the case as an appellate judge, and the other eight justices appeared to unanimously decide in favor of staying the execution.

Glossip was convicted of arranging for another motel employee, Justin Sneed, to kill Barry Van Treese, the establishment's owner, in 1997. Two investigations since his conviction have raised questions about the prosecutors' case against Glossip; one found that Sneed had lied during his testimony and another pointed to destruction of evidence.

Last month, Drummond asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) to vacate Glossip's conviction and death sentence and open new proceedings regarding the case, but the court unanimously refused.

"The court waved away overwhelming evidence of innocence and decided that, actually, Glossip is guilty—and must be put to death on May 18," wrote journalist Mark Joseph Stern at Slate last month. "The decision makes a sadistic mockery of the judiciary's supposed role as a guardian of individual liberties. It favors vengeance over justice."

Issuing a temporary stay of execution on Friday, the Supreme Court said it would soon determine whether to take Glossip's case.

"We are very grateful to the U.S. Supreme Court for doing the right thing in stopping Richard Glossip's unlawful execution," said Don Knight, an attorney for Glossip. "There is nothing more harrowing than the thought of executing a man who the state now admits has never received a fair trial. Thankfully, for the time being, Mr. Glossip is out of peril."

"Our hope is that the court will reverse the decision of the OCCA," said Knight, "and vacate Mr. Glossip's conviction once and for all."

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