WE NEED TO REFORM OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM
Without a doubt, I believe that specific heinous acts committed by egregious individuals DEMAND the death penalty.
However, it appears that we are witnessing more and more police officers, prosecutors, and politicians corrupting the judicial process and cannot be trusted to protect the rights of innocent individuals wrongly accused. In some cases, pursuing these individuals knowing that contrary or exculpatory evidence exists, and if revealed, would be embarrassing to public officials or costly to the State.
What appears to be lacking is accountability for knowing or covering up wrongdoing. Due to absolute immunity for actions they take in the course of their professional or prosecutorial duties, even victims of misconduct cannot seek remedies, even for the most blatant of constitutional violations.
What appears to be needed is a form of qualified immunity, rendering police and prosecutors criminally and civilly liable for conspicuous wrongdoing. In addition, State lawyers or judicial officials who engage in zealous advocacy after the reevaluation of exculpatory evidence should be subject to mandatory recusal or venue changes.
The Richard Gloster case, an example of prosecution error resulting in the death penalty…
For the reasons set forth below, it is the view of the undersigned on behalf of the State of Oklahoma that setting aside Richard Glossip’s conviction and remanding the case to the district court is the fair and just result.
On January 26, 2023, the State appointed an independent counsel to re-examine this case. After a thorough review, the Independent Counsel concluded that Glossip’s conviction and sentence should be set aside. The State has reviewed the Independent Counsel’s report and conclusions. The State has reached the difficult conclusion that justice requires setting aside Glossip’s conviction and remanding the case to the district court.
Before discussing the reasons for the State’s difficult conclusion, the State is not suggesting that Glossip is innocent of any charge made against him. The State continues to believe that Glossip has culpability in the murder of Barry Van Treese.
Further, the State disagrees with many of the conclusions reached by the Independent Counsel. However, the State has concluded that Justin Sneed (“Sneed”) made material misstatements to the jury regarding his psychiatric treatment and the reasons for his lithium prescription. Consistent with its obligations in Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959), the State is compelled to correct these misstatements and permit the trier of fact the opportunity to weigh Sneed’s credibility with the accurate information.
Additionally, and even though previously addressed by this Court, the State is concerned that there were multiple and cumulative errors, such as violation of the rule of sequestration and destruction of evidence, that when taken together with Sneed’s misstatements warrant a remand to the district court.
Except as expressly identified below, the State denies all allegations of error or legal conclusions made by Glossip in his Successive Application for Post-Conviction Relief Death Penalty - Execution Scheduled May 18, 2023 (“Glossip’s Application”).
As this Court is well aware, many of the claims in Glossip’s Application have been advanced numerous times and have been rejected. However, because the State now believes Glossip’s conviction should be set aside and the case remanded to the district court, the State does not believe a thorough rehashing of these arguments is warranted. To the extent that they are consistent with this confession of error, the State adopts and incorporates by reference all prior State briefings to this Court related to Glossip’s appeals and multiple applications for post-conviction relief.
Here, at a minimum, Glossip was not made aware of Sneed’s treatment by Dr. Trombka at the second trial. Further, Glossip was not made aware of Dr. Trombka’s treatment of Sneed until he recently received the prosecutor’s notes. Consequently, this issue could not have been asserted in a direct appeal.
The State is also not comfortable asserting that the outcome of the trial would have been the same if Sneed had testified accurately. There is no dispute that Sneed was the State’s key witness at the second trial. If Sneed had accurately disclosed that he had seen a psychiatrist, then the defense would have likely learned of the nature of Sneed’s psychiatric condition and the true reason for Sneed’s lithium prescription. With this information plus Sneed’s history of drug addiction, the State believes that a qualified defense attorney likely could have attacked Sneed’s ability to properly recall key facts at the second trial. Stated another way, the State has reached the difficult conclusion that the conviction of Glossip was obtained with the benefit of material misstatements to the jury by its key witness. Accordingly, the State believes Glossip is entitled to post-conviction relief.
Glossip’s Conviction Should Be Set Aside and the Case Remanded to the District Court. As explained above, the State has concluded that the conviction can no longer be supported based on Sneed’s materially false testimony. In addition to the false testimony issue, Glossip also raises multiple errors in his Application such as violation of the rule of sequestration and the destruction of various pieces of evidence. While the State does not believe that these issues alone warrant reversal, they establish that Glossip’s trial was unfair and unreliable when they are taken together with the incorrect testimony when they are taken together with the incorrect testimony. Consequently, the State is not comfortable advocating that the result of the trial would have been the same but for these errors
Moreover, in deciding to take this difficult stance, the State has carefully considered the voluminous record in this case, the constitutional principles at stake, and the interests of justice.
While the State has previously opposed relief for Glossip, it has changed its position based on a careful review of the new information that has come to light, including its own Independent Counsel’s review of the case. Given the admonition that the State has a duty to “use every legitimate means to bring about a just” result, it urges this Court to give credence to the State’s considered judgment.
Accordingly, the State requests that the Court vacate Glossip’s conviction and that the case be remanded to the district court.
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond
Richard Glossip v. State of Oklahoma; Case No. PCD 2023-267 (Death Penalty Case); Oklahoma State Court of Criminal Appeals; April 6, 2023
While there was no physical evidence linking Glossip to the crime, and substantial evidence that Gloster may have been an “accessory after the fact” but did not commit the murder, the actual murderer who testified for the State against Gloster was spared the death penalty. It appears that had the State not tried to take a shortcut, the real murderer might have been given the death sentence and Glossip given a lengthy prison term – which looks more like an equitable outcome. This type of case is reminiscent of a prosecutorial cover-up and wrongdoing in the prosecutor’s office.
There is little doubt in my mind that had Gentner Drummond not replaced the former Oklahoma Attorney John O'Connor in January 2023, Gossip would be executed on May 18, 2023 – which is still the scheduled execution date.
We can no longer rely on many police officers, prosecutors, or the judiciary to ethically and reliably investigate criminal acts or administer justice in accordance with their sworn duties, and thus "We the People" have to replace absolute immunity with a form of qualified immunity. Moreover, hold such individuals accountable for abuse of power, including the selective prosecution of members of opposing political parties or in cases resulting in notoriety for prosecutors pursuing a political career.
We are so screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS