On July 5, 2023, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond (pictured) filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of death row prisoner Richard Glossip’s petition for a writ of certiorari. The Innocence Project and six legal scholars have also filed briefs in support of Mr. Glossip, while the victim’s family and the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association have filed a brief in opposition.

“The [Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals] OCCA’s decision cannot be reconciled with this Court’s precedents, the record in this case, or bedrock principles,” states the brief, “After careful consideration – including a thorough review by an independent counsel – the State came to the conclusion that …ensuring that justice is done in this case requires a retrial.”

The brief explains that Mr. Glossip’s conviction for the 1997 killing of his boss, Barry Van Treese, relied on false testimony from Mr. Glossip’s co-defendant, and co-worker, Justin Sneed, “the person who actually delivered the fatal blows to the victim and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to avoid facing the death penalty himself.” Based on this information and Mr. Sneed’s history of drug use and serious psychiatric condition, “the State believes that a qualified defense attorney likely could have attacked” the testimony and provided “a viable alternative theory of the case that did not involve Glossip.”

To allow time to review the petitions, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Mr. Glossip a stay of execution on May 5 ahead of his scheduled May 18 execution date. Earlier in April, the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to grant Mr. Glossip clemency, despite unprecedented support for clemency from AG Drummond. Prior to that, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Mr. Glossip’s appeal despite AG Drummond’s motion requesting the conviction be vacated and returned to the lower court.


Derrick James, Oklahoma AG asks SCOTUS to order new hear­ing for Richard Glossip, McAlester News-Capital, July 5, 2023; Addison Kliewer, Oklahoma AG files brief with SCOTUS for writ of cer­tio­rari in Richard Glossip case, KOCO 5, July 5, 2023; Press Release, Drummond files brief with U.S. Supreme Court in sup­port of Glossip peti­tion for writ of cer­tio­rari, Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General, July 52023

Read the full brief here.