Oklahoma’s Richard Glossip scheduled to die Wednesday

1 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Latest on Oklahoma execution: Protesters of scheduled execution gather at governor’s mansion.

Prison officials wait to check in media at the gate of the State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla, for the scheduled execution of Richard Glossip, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Oklahoma State Penitentiary death row inmate Richard Glossip is shown in this 2007 handout photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. © Oklahoma Department of Corrections / Reuters The US Supreme Court refused to halt Richard Glossip’s execution this afternoon.He avoided the death penalty through a plea deal which saw him testify in court that Glossip paid him to commit the crime, a claim he stood by in a re-trial in 2004.

Glossip was convicted of ordering the 1997 killing of Barry Van Treese, who owned the Oklahoma City motel that Glossip managed. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) McALESTER, Okla. Glossip was scheduled to be executed two weeks ago, but was granted a reprieve three hours before the penalty was about to be carried out, so that claims of new evidence could be assessed. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stop the execution of an Oklahoma inmate who claims that new evidence uncovered by his lawyers can prove his innocence. According to the Guardian, an open letter was also written by Sneed’s daughter that suggests her father considered recanting his original statement, which would “exonerate Mr Glossip”. But the court decided by 3-2 votes on Monday that Glossip’s execution should go ahead, saying the supposedly new evidence just expands on theories raised in past appeals.

His conviction was based on the testimony of the murderer, a man named Justin Sneed, who confessed to using a baseball bat to bludgeon the victim to death. The last of these requests was rejected and, unless one of the other two is granted, Glossip is due to receive the lethal injection at 3pm local time (9pm UK time). In a 3-2 decision, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, denied Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing and an emergency stay of execution. In a brief order Wednesday, the court denied Richard Eugene Glossip’s petition to have the justices take up his case and stop his scheduled execution. In a September 21 letter, the pope’s representative asked Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the state parole board to commute Richard Glossip’s death sentence, saying that it would “give clearer witness to the value and dignity of every person’s life.” Glossip was set to die at 3:00pm central time, and the appeal prevent this was rejected by the United States Supreme Court shortly before that time.

He was convicted again based largely on Sneed’s testimony, although his account of Glossip’s alleged involvement diverged from what he said at the first trial, which diverged from his original confession to police. Last January, the Supreme Court stayed Glossip’s execution so that it could hear a challenge that he and other death-row inmates had made to the use of the drug midazolam as the anesthetic in a three-drug lethal-injection procedure, before the other drugs were administered to paralyze the inmate and then to stop his heart. She was put to death by lethal injection hours later. “Every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes,” Francis told a joint meeting of Congress. In addition to Pope Francis, Glossip’s execution is opposed by death penalty abolitionist Sister Helen Prejean, who authored a biographical account of her relationship with inmates on deathrow, ‘Dead Man Walking.’ Actress Susan Sarandon, who portrayed Prejean in the film adaptation of the book, also voiced her support for the death row prisoner. Before Charles Warner was executed in January, Oklahoma prison officials waited about an hour before proceeding while justices considered whether the sedative midazolam was an appropriate drug to use.

His counsel in his second trial exceeded the very low standard for ineffective counsel, but did a poor cross-examination of Sneed, the main witness against Glossip. From the decision to charge Glossip with a capital crime to some unsavory tactical moves in the second trial, the prosecution was overzealous and may have crossed the line into misconduct.

The second reason that this case is likely to be a point of reference in any narrative of death-penalty abolition is the way that it has played out in an Oklahoma state court this month. The court granted a stay “in order for this court to give fair consideration to the materials included,” but, on Monday, decided not to let a state trial court consider the new evidence.

It has everything to do with the state’s attempt to bring death-penalty cases to an end because of “the legal principle of finality of judgment,” as the majority opinion put it—even if that means denying a hearing that might exonerate an innocent man. It has repeatedly put an end to federal cases, even when a federal appeals court had good reasons for not wanting to end a case—not wanting to permit a state to execute a death-row inmate who might be innocent or who might have been wrongfully sentenced to death. A death row inmate’s scheduled execution for his role in a 1997 motel killing would be the first in Oklahoma since the nation’s highest court upheld the state’s three-drug lethal injection formula.

In the view of researchers who have conducted these studies, it could be so because the crimes at issue in capital cases are typically horrendous murders, and thus accompanied by intense community pressure on police, prosecutors, and jurors to secure a conviction. As Rory Little of the University of California’s Hastings College of Law wrote on Scotusblog, this could be “the biggest Eighth Amendment term in forty years.” In the wake of Pope Francis’s visit, Robert J. Because—in Kennedy’s words again—those who face “that most severe sanction must have a fair opportunity to show that the Constitution prohibits their execution.”

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