Death row inmate’s appeal heard by Supreme Court

United States of Supreme Court | Credits: iStock
United States of Supreme Court | Credits: iStock

United States: On Monday, the United States Supreme Court decided to hear the appeal by the Death Row inmate Richard Glossip’s challenge to his convictions for 1997 murder for hire based on his claim that the crucial evidence favorable to his defense was wrongfully withheld by the prosecutors. 

Lower Court’s Refusal

Glossip’s appeal was accepted by the justices, but his appeal was taken of a lower court’s refusal to grant him a hearing, after which the court determined that the outcome of Glossip’s case would not change due to newly found evidence; the Glossip’s execution was scheduled in May 2023 but was halted by the Supreme Court, as they wanted to consider whether to take up his appeal challenging his convictions on various grounds.

In 1997, Glossip was found guilty of the murder of the owner of the Best Budget Inn motel, Barry Van Treese, in Oklahoma City, where Glossip was the manager of the same Inn. Maintenance Worker Justin Sneed beat Van Treese to death with a baseball bat, and later, he confessed that Glossip hired him to do so.

Misleading statements

The Recent investigation by the Glossip’s lawyer into the case has led him to doubt the honesty of Justin Seed, the only key witness, causing them to file a motion with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Justice.

Defense lawyer told the Oklahoma court in two separate court that the 

jury was mis-leaded by the Sneed about his psychiatric condition at the time the committed the murder, and that the prosecutor failed to disclose that Sneed had changed his testimony against Glossip.

In November 2022 and again in April 203, however, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled against Glossip based on that court’s judgment that this evidence would not have changed juror’s minds and rejected his request for a hearing.

His legal team responded by filing two appeals with the Supreme Court, one of which was supported by Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond, and the justices halted his execution, which was scheduled for May 18, 2023.

In 1998, first-degree murder was established in the case of Glossip. Since an appellate court overturned that conviction, he was found guilty once more in 2004. He has drawn a range of prominent supporters while pursuing long-running appeals of his sentence, including from celebrity Kim Kardashian.

A Ray of Hope

In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by Glossip and two other death row inmates arguing to challenge Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol on constitutional grounds that state execution methods do not violate the US Constitution forbidding cruel and unusual punishment.