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September 16, 2015

Oklahoma's top criminal court stays execution of Richard Glossip for two weeks

As reported in local news pieces here and here, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin late yesterday refused to delay today's scheduled execution of Richard Glossip amid concerns about his factual guilt.  But today the Oklahoma Criminal Court of Appeals issued a stay of execution for death row inmate Richard Glossip. Here are the basics:

Just before 12 p.m. Wednesday, a stay has been granted for him until September 30. Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Mary Fallin said she will not grant Glossip a stay of execution. Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, Glossip’s attorneys filed the appeal with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. It's their last avenue to stop the execution.

Court documents released on Wednesday stated that, "Due to Glossip's last minute filing, and in order for this court to give fair consideration to the materials included with his subsequent application for post-conviction relief, we hereby grant an emergency stay of execution for two weeks. The execution of Richard Eugene Glossip shall be reset, without further order, for September 30, 2015."

During a news conference on Wednesday, the Director of Oklahoma Department of Corrections said he does not know the reasons behind the stay, and that at this time, they are shutting down all procedures.

Prior related post:

September 16, 2015 at 01:28 PM | Permalink


"Due to Glossip's last minute filing, and in order for this court to give fair consideration to the materials included with his subsequent application for post-conviction relief, we hereby grant an emergency stay of execution for two weeks. The execution of Richard Eugene Glossip shall be reset, without further order, for September 30, 2015."

Another cowardly stay. The "evidence" doesn't explain where Glossip got the money or his BS stories to the cops. This guy has had years to present his case of "innocence"---the victims' family deserved better.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 16, 2015 8:22:52 PM

federalist - you are more than offensive in your remarks, they demonstrate ignorance of what justice and the judicial system is about. If you do not understand that innocence matters then you have no right to comment, play any part in the legal system (if you do or aspire to), or be taken seriously on this blog or any other public platform. The victims' family have a right to the truth and to our deepest sympathy of their loss. They do not have the right of revenge, and most certainly should not to be unwittingly drawn into a possible wrongful execution of an innocent man. And you certainly do not have the right to assume for yourself the mantle of their spokesperson and standard bearer. If you want to continue to express views on the death penalty then stop personalizing your comments on people unable to respond and under threat of their lives.

Posted by: peter | Sep 17, 2015 3:07:04 AM


Sorry, I'm with Federalist on this one, if you are going to provide a stay just because an inmate files something you are never going to impose the lawful sentence of execution. The constitution does not demand perfection, no matter how much a vocal minority might wish it so.

The standard is "beyond reasonable doubt" not "beyond a shadow of any doubt" or "beyond even unreasonable doubts".

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 17, 2015 11:49:19 AM

It is unclear to me that the court granted a stay "just because an inmate file[d] something" or is using a "require perfection" standard. How responsive your comment is to Peter's remarks is unclear to me.

The disagreement on the evidence is duly noted; for instance, Tom Coburn, a former strongly conservative member of Congress, is cited in recent coverage as very concerned with the legitimacy of the execution while others, including the person who runs this blog was quite suspicious of the delay.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 17, 2015 12:25:33 PM

Joe, the court issued a stay because it didn't have time to evaluate the innocence claims "fair[ly]" before the scheduled execution. The reason it didn't have time is that the condemned filed the appeal at the last minute. In my view, before issuing the stay, the court should have demanded that the condemned show that he had been working to develop this evidence in a diligent manner and that he couldn't have filed significantly earlier. That's how an adversary system works. Instead, the court rewarded the tactics of delay. That's cowardly, and the whiny fig-leaf criticism of the "last-minute filing" is weak.

It seems to me that the evidence of innocence is pathetically weak since we don't have an explanation from Glossip's camp (and no journalist seems to have the cojones to ask when these guys try their case in the press) of where he got the two grand from and why he didn't say a word about Sneed's confession. Of course, there are no good answers to these questions.

As for Peter's yapping, it's just name-calling and ignorance. First of all, the family here believes Glossip did it and has said so and praised the governor for her moral courage. Second, I will speak for victims' interests generally--as has the US Supreme Court (I've cited the case here.) Victims deserve not to be jerked around like this, and I am not opposed to taking looks at cases where there is a legitimate innocence issue. (This, it seems to me, is not one of them.)

Bottom line, capital defense lawyers should not be allowed to game the system by filing appeals that could have been filed much earlier. It's bad enough when state courts cower in the face of a last-minute filing (instead of resolving whether the condemned should have filed much earlier)--positively appalling when federal courts do it (given our federal system of government).

The upshot is that federal and state courts have bent the rules in favor of capital murderers. It's unseemly, and, when you get right down to it, indefensible. And I will note, Joe, you've never been able to defend the federal court stays that I have criticized in here. That's fine--not like you work for me--but your faux erudite posts look even worse with the knowledge that, while you support lawless hacks like Kermit Bye or "Judge" Dennis, you can't defend their decisions with legal argument.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 17, 2015 3:10:24 PM

My comment was not in response to Federalist but the first part of his comment as to why the stay was granted is appreciated since it furthers my point -- merely filing something isn't enough, nor is perfection demanded.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 17, 2015 5:14:42 PM

It seems to me that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals showed rather more moral courage and judgment than the Governor, especially after her treatment of the State Supreme Court in the Lockett case .... and I'm sure we all know what happened in that. I'm surprised there is anyone here who imagines she actually possesses any morals let alone moral courage.

Posted by: peter | Sep 17, 2015 5:41:28 PM

So again we trot out the image of the victim's family to satisfy our thirst to kill--whether we have the right guy or not. So, I guess that means where Vic's family wants no part of killing another human, their wishes are of paramount importance. For $1.99 more you get a side salad with that big slab of hypocrisy.

And yes, because death is different--the rules are too.

Posted by: Mark m. | Sep 17, 2015 6:04:20 PM

Mark M.--"our thirst to kill"--oh you mean justice. If you want to see thirst to kill, check out Planned Parenthood or some elements of the BLM movement. "Pigs in a blanket."

As for the victims' family's wishes--the issue is yanking the rug out from under those who have waited patiently for justice. Sensitivity to victims' interests in not being jerked around (an interest that has been acknowledged by a unanimous Supreme Court) doesn't mean that their wishes are paramount, but it does mean that courts should be sensitive to game-playing by capital defense lawyers. So, Mark, you can take your moral preening and snark and shove it.

As for "death is different" (silly sloganeering if I ever heard it), yes, there are a different set of rules, but what rules there are should be followed. So BS positions like the ones advocated by Kermit Bye and "Judge" Dennis would violate the rules applicable to stays.

As for Joe, nice try. You'll note, of course, that I said up front "another"--which means that SH's point about what happens when last-minute filings create stays is a propos. That the OCCA had a stated reason doesn't mean that the reason was right or even defensible.

And what I find amazing--it's painfully obvious that neither Joe, nor peter nor Mark actually give a hoot about whether this filing is an abuse. No one is asking where Glossip got the 2 large or his inexplicable failure to tell cops about Sneed's confession. Instead we have snark about "having the right guy or not"---cute.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 17, 2015 6:41:15 PM

I'm taking what SH said not some "what he really means" inference -- just filing something isn't enough. Perfection isn't the test. Some victims and victim families are against the death penalty. Some requested it not be used but it was used anyway. When one such person was here, it really confused federalist, since that just isn't his mindset.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 18, 2015 10:26:13 AM

Nothing in here has really confused me, especially the idea that gee whiz not all family members of capital murder victims want the death penalty. What I have done is pushed back against you not coming quite out saying that whether or not some last minute stay is granted or whether or not some death sentence is tossed the victims' family's interest is a wash because, golly gee, there are some enlightened victims' family members who don't like the death penalty. Yes, maybe an execution harms those people--but the whole rug pulling out thing harms those who want the execution to go forward a lot more. I've made this argument here before, and you've always turned tail and run from it.

And good grief, Joe, your posts show a fundamental misunderstanding of SH--his complaint is general--entitlement to last-minute stays based on complaints that a trial wasn't perfect or some metaphysical doubt will thwart capital punishment. This is a good example--maybe Sneed isn't the best witness--but Sneed plus Glossip's own actions put the nail in his coffin. I've asked for a logical explanation of the $2K that Glossip was found with. And why didn't Glossip tell the cops that Sneed told him he did it? There just ain't any plausible explanations of this that aren't consistent with guilt.

What's obnoxious is that people like you won't engage on those sort of substantive issues with respect to the case at hand. Instead, you flit around and ankle bite.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 18, 2015 12:50:56 PM

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