Death row inmate Richard Glossip of Oklahoma is scheduled to be executed today despite much doubt about his guilt regarding a 1997 murder conviction.
Glossip’s conviction rested mostly on the testimony of witness Justin Sneed, claiming Glossip hired him to kill their boss. Since the conviction, Sneed has said that he framed Glossip to avoid receiving punishment. Glossip’s attorney maintains his client’s innocence.
Although Sneed’s remarks are considered hearsay and not strong enough evidence, the defense has requested more time to see if the claims have substance. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals briefly stayed Glossip’s execution, but a majority ruled on Monday that the execution will continue as planned.
According to an opinion written by Judge David Lewis, “We find that the law favors the legal principle of finality of judgement.” Essentially, that means “the court says what it says, and that stands regardless.” Not all judicial officials agree, however.
Presiding Judge Clancy Smith wrote a dissenting opinion. “While finality of judgement is important, the State has no interest in executing an actually innocent man,” she wrote.
The Daily Kos wrote the following about the troubling facts of this case:
Two men who don’t know Richard Glossip but were in prison with the man prosecutors claim he hired to kill his boss have signed repeated affidavits stating they heard the killer, Justin Sneed, state that he set Glossip up so that he could avoid the death penalty in the case.
The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office has been caught clearly intimidating these two witnesses over the past week. Multiple sources have confirmed this intimidation. This intimidation has been universally panned as inappropriate and unethical.
The prosecutor claims that the eyewitnesses who are stating that they heard Justin Sneed say he framed Richard Glossip are unreliable because they’ve committed crimes, taken drugs, and lied before. What’s preposterous about this is that the primary witness against Richard Glossip, Justin Sneed himself, had also committed many crimes, taken drugs, and lied before.