In its initial report, issued June 15, a Reed Smith investigative team found that no reasonable jury hearing the complete record would convict Glossip of first-degree murder. Since then, the team has uncovered several new findings that bolster this assertion, as detailed in three previous supplemental reports issued Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sep. 20.
The team’s latest supplement details new analysis from Lawrence Hellman, professor emeritus and dean emeritus at Oklahoma City University School of Law. In his analysis, Professor Hellman addresses the newly discovered evidence from the district attorney’s case file that the attorney general only granted Glossip’s defense access to in September 2022.
After carefully reviewing this evidence in light of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct in force at the time of Glossip’s 2004 retrial, as well as relevant case law, Professor Hellman determined sufficient basis exists for an evidentiary hearing to assess the evidence and make findings of fact regarding apparent professional misconduct by the state’s lead prosecutor during Glossip’s retrial.
Professor Hellman found evidence that assistant district attorney Connie Pope Smothermon fell short of her ethical and professional responsibilities in the case. Moreover, Professor Hellman believes that these shortcomings had the potential to substantially and adversely affect the fairness of the retrial in ways that would undermine confidence in the jury’s verdict.
Specifically, Professor Hellman found that ADA Smothermon failed in her professional duties to honor the rule of sequestration invoked in the proceeding and to disclose to Glossip’s defense attorneys the full and complete substance of her mid-trial communications with the state’s principal witness, Justin Sneed.
Evidence also exists that ADA Smothermon was aware that Sneed wanted to avoid testifying and revoke his plea agreement with the state right before he was set to testify in the retrial. Prior to Glossip’s first trial, Sneed agreed to plead guilty and testify against Glossip in exchange for avoiding the death penalty. Instead of death, Sneed received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Professor Hellman believes the state should have turned over to the defense the information that Sneed wanted to avoid testifying and revoke his plea deal.
Reed Smith is conducting its ongoing independent investigation into Glossip’s case and conviction on a pro bono basis. The firm launched the investigation at the request of an ad hoc committee of Oklahoma state legislators.
To date, 62 Oklahoma legislators have requested the state attorney general to consent to an evidentiary hearing.
On Aug. 6, Governor Kevin Stitt granted Glossip a 60-day stay of execution while a state appeals court considers his case. Glossip is scheduled for execution on Dec 8, 2022.
The Reed Smith investigative team’s, fourth supplemental report (pdf, Oct. 18), third supplemental report (pdf, Sep. 20), second supplemental report (pdf, Aug. 23), first supplemental report (pdf, Aug. 9), summary (pdf, July 21) and full report (pdf, June 16) are available to the public.