aNewDomain — So far, luck’s been on the side of death row inmate Richard Glossip, who avoided execution at the hands of the State of Oklahoma again last week.
This time, OK Governor Mary Fallin, not the court, ordered a stay, just minutes before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection for a murder no court has ever said he personally committed. Indeed, a growing number of supporters, like those gathering in Washington, D.C. this week to protest his execution, believe he might not be guilty of planning the murder of an Oklahoma City hotel clerk either. Witnesses have come forward to say that another man, the man who admitted he was the one who killed the victim during Glossip’s trial, framed Glossip. They have yet to be heard.
But the stay wasn’t ordered on grounds that there should be an evidentiary hearing to review new evidence. Rather, Gov. Fallin said it had to do with one of the drugs ordered for the lethal cocktail. And that only highlights, Glossip’s supporters say, how ill-equipped Glossip’s executioners really are.
After Fallin stayed the September 30 execution of Glossip at the eleventh hour due to reservations about the state’s lethal injection drug protocol, we should note, OK Attorney General Scott Pruitt followed suit and announced he was seeking an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions in the state.
The Mystery of The Mystery Cocktail
The drug used for execution is supposed to be Potassium Chloride, but the state received Potassium Acetate. That might be sufficient to kill a man, innocent or guilty, but it isn’t protocol and it was the wrong drug to order. So why did that drug end up in the death chamber? Oklahoma Department of Corrections Officer Alex Gerszewski reportedly attempted to answer this question in an email to Time, saying: “I still don’t know why we had Potassium Acetate … we can’t discuss how we obtain the drugs.”
In an effort to calm this perfect storm, Pruitt sat down with The O’Collegian yesterday evening, the student newspaper of Oklahoma State University, to address the growing controversy now surrounding the indefinite stay of not just Glossip’s execution but also those of other Oklahoma death row inmates scheduled to die. The Department of Corrections “advised my office and the governor’s office very late in the process barely an hour before the execution that they had received the wrong drug,” Pruitt said, adding:
"We have three different drug protocols — three different options involving different drugs. Potassium chloride is one of the drugs that is used in each of those protocols, and Potassium Chloride has been used by the state for a long time.”
As Potassium Acetate is not part of the protocol, you’d think that, on delivery about two hours prior to Glossip’s scheduled execution, officials would’ve gotten the wheels turning on delaying the execution. Reportedly, though, they briefly considered whether to improvise and use an improper drug again.
It’s worth noting that state law here attempts to remove any ambiguity about the cocktail: Officials must notify the condemned and identify the specific substances in the protocol “in writing 10 calendar days prior to the scheduled execution date.”
Source: aNewDomain.net, Jim Kelly, October 6, 2015
Reddit AMA: I am Don Knight, one of the pro bono defense attorneys for Richard Glossip
I have 33 years of experience in criminal defense, with the last 15 years doing death penalty work.
Oklahoma is preparing to execute an innocent man named Richard Glossip that I know there have been many discussions here on Reddit about.
If you're interested in learning more, Ian Woods of Sky News is doing a serial podcast about Richard Glossip and his quest for exoneration.
Right now we have an indefinite stay of execution and I'm worried about this case withering on the vine. How do we keep it in the public eye?
MST3Kimber: The main reaction I've been seeing from fellow Oklahomans is that he's guilty because he's been convicted not once, but twice. I personally don't believe the justice system is fool-proof, but when I try to explain this to those I have a discussion about this case with, that is their go-to answer. "He must be guilty because he's been convicted TWICE."
How do you, as his attorney, explain how an innocent man can be convicted twice for this crime? Best of luck to you guys and Mr. Glossip. I know you guys have a difficult road ahead of you. I'm pulling for you guys!
Don_Knight: The first trial was overturned on direct appeal due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Therefore, by its very nature, that trial did not count. There have been many people who have been exonerated even off of death row, who were convicted by a jury more than one time and yet these people were not guilty. It is not a stretch to have people receive trials and be found guilty and yet be innocent of the crime that they've just been convicted of. It comes down to how hard the lawyers have worked, how much money they've been given, and how much time they've had to prepare.
ryanmerket: Is there any other evidence that Glossip hired Sneed besides Sneed's testimony that ultimately reduced his sentence to 'Life in Prison' from death?
Don_Knight: No. Not other than Sneed's testimony.
Sleipnoir: I..don't understand how this can be legal? Can you really charge someone and give them the death penalty when the only evidence is one person's word (who had incentive to lie)?
Don_Knight: No. There needs to be some kind of corroborating evidence, however, it's pretty loose as to what constitutes corroborating evidence. In this case, Richard had $1200 cash on him. The prosecutor said this came from the murder even though there was no way to show that was true, but this is what constituted the corroborating evidence that was needed.
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Source: reddit, October 6, 2015