Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

"Some Anxiety" in Oklahoma Ahead of Glossip Execution

Richard Glossip
Richard Glossip
Gov. Mary Fallin will not intervene in the case of Richard Glossip, who is scheduled for execution tomorrow afternoon.

"Richard Glossip has had almost 18 years of hearings, trials, appeals. He's had 3 stays on his execution. He took it all the way to the Court of Criminal Appeals," Fallin said during a day-long visit to Tulsa. "It's the law of the state of Oklahoma; my job as the governor is just to make sure the law is carried forth."

Barring action by the U.S. Supreme Court, Glossip will be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rejected a request Monday from Glossip's attorneys for a new hearing.

They say new evidence shows the man Glossip purportedly hired to kill their boss, Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese, acted alone.

Fallin said the criminal justice system has worked as it should in Glossip's case.

"I will say, I still believe in the death penalty, which is the current law in Oklahoma, and I still believe in justice for the victims that have suffered so much in horrible crimes like murder," Fallin said.

While she avoided speaking personally, Fallin said there is anxiety in the state over Glossip's impending death.

"This particular case has received a lot of national press because of anti-death penalty groups, and they are truly what they are: anti-death penalty groups that do not support that," Fallin said.

Glossip's lawyers are also challenging Oklahoma's use of midazolam after it was discovered the Texas Department of Corrections compounded the more reliable pentobarbital and gave some to Virginia.

Source: publicradiotulsa.org, Sept. 30, 2015

Richard Glossip lawyers submit appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Richard Glossip is innocent and his execution would be the result of a wrongful conviction, according to a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Mr. Glossip's attorneys today with the United States Supreme Court.

Information on the appeal was circulated to news organizations worldwide the afternoon of Tuesday (September 29).

The petition comes a day after a splintered Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied, in a close 3-2 vote, Mr. Glossip's request for an evidentiary hearing and a stay of execution. Mr. Glossip is scheduled for execution in Oklahoma at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30.

Arguing that the execution of Mr. Glossip would be unconstitutional because of the weakness of the evidence against him, the petition states:

"'The State's entire case' against Mr. Glossip turned upon the testimony of Justin Sneed. Glossip v. State, 29 P.3d 597, 560 (Ok. Cr. 2001). Newly discovered evidence completely undermines Sneed's credibility. Mr. Glossip claimed below that his execution based solely on Sneed's bargained for, and now provably unreliable, testimony would violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments." (p. I) The Petition for a Writ of Certiorari can be accessed here: [http://bit.ly/1PM4rXD]

The dissents by OCCA Judges Johnson and Smith can be accessed here [http://bit.ly/1KJ8Fha http://bit.ly/1MEthI8].

The dissent states:

"Glossip's materials convince me that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to investigate his claim of actual innocence ...While finality of judgment is important, the State has no interest in executing an actually innocent man."

Glossip's attorneys contend in their brief that new evidence, not fully considered by any court, shows that Mr. Glossip is innocent of the murder for which he faces execution. Mr. Glossip was not present during the murder.

Justin Sneed committed the murder and does not face the death penalty. Mr. Sneed avoided death by providing testimony that Mr. Glossip was involved. A lower court has already recognized that "the State's entire case" rests on Mr. Sneed's testimony (Glossip v. State, 29 P.3d 597, 560 (Ok. Cr. 2001.)

However, multiple witnesses have come forward to say that Mr. Sneed acted alone. If the state proceeds with Mr. Glossip's execution, it will be based solely on unreliable information provided by 1 witness, in exchange for his life.

Glossip's lawyers note that two new witnesses, Michael Scott and Joseph Tapley, have come forward, "at no benefit to themselves, and offered sworn affidavits that Mr. Sneed revealed that Mr. Glossip had no involvement in the murder. Another new affidavit reveals the extent of Mr. Sneed's methamphetamine addiction at the time of the crime, and his modus operandi of breaking into cars and hotel rooms to steal to get money for his drug addiction."

Additionally, new evidence implicates the interrogation of Justin Sneed. Dr. Richard Leo, Ph.D., J.D., is the national, leading expert on police-induced false confessions and erroneous convictions. After reviewing Mr. Glossip's case, based on decades of social science research, he concluded that law enforcement in this case used the "personal and situational factors associated with, and believed to cause, false confessions." See Dr. Richard Leo report, App. B.

An analysis of a recent video interview with Mr. Sneed and background information, which reveals multiple, changing stories, can be accessed in the following links.

Detailed Elements from Sneed's 8 Stories:

When Eight is Enough 8.28.15:

Donald Knight, one of Glossip's lawyers, observed in today's press release:

"This case splintered the Court of Criminal Appeals - a 3-2 vote. 2 Judges believed a further stay of execution and a hearing on innocence was required on the facts. We should all be deeply concerned about an execution under such circumstances," said Donald Knight, 1 of Mr. Glossip's attorneys.

Knight's team of lawyers seeking to present Glossip's execution includes Kathleen Lord and Mark Olive.

Source: The City Sentinel, Sept. 29, 2015

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