Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of execution for Richard Glossip, an Oklahoma state inmate on death row who had been scheduled for execution on May 18. Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond and Glossip’s defense team requested a stay from the nation’s highest court just four days ago, after the state confessed its error and agreed that Glossip, who has been on death row for 25 years, did not receive a fair trial in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. No justice filed a dissent to the court’s decision to grant a stay.

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“We are grateful to the Supreme Court for issuing this stay,” said Reed Smith partner David Weiss, who co-leads the firm’s independent investigation into Glossip’s case. That investigation, commissioned last year by a committee of Oklahoma lawmakers, has concluded that “no reasonable juror hearing the complete record would have convicted Glossip.”

“For an execution to proceed after the state has confessed error would be unthinkable,” Weiss said. “We greatly appreciate Attorney General Drummond’s careful consideration in this case and his continuing pursuit of justice for Richard Glossip.”

Glossip’s defense has further filed a new petition with the Supreme Court challenging the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals’ recent denial of its request to have his conviction overturned in light of new information that became available only after Drummond authorized its release upon taking office. The prior attorney general refused to release the material. In response, the state confessed error and joined Glossip’s request that the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) vacate the conviction, but the OCCA denied the request. The State of Oklahoma has indicated that it will support this new Supreme Court petition and confess error before the high court.

The stay issued today remains in place while the Supreme Court decides whether to grant certiorari in response to Glossip’s petitions. If so, the stay will remain in place until the justices decide the case on the merits. However, if they deny certiorari on both the pending petitions, then the stay will be lifted.

Reed Smith began its independent, third-party investigation into Glossip’s case in February 2022. Working with lawyers from Jackson Walker and Crowe & Dunlevy, a Reed Smith team of more than 30 lawyers, three investigators and two paralegals have devoted more than 4,000 hours, pro bono, to this investigation.

The team has since released five addendums to its initial report detailing additional findings in the ongoing investigation, including evidence withheld by state prosecutors for 25 years and only released after Drummond took office.

The team’s full report (pdf, June 16, 2022), executive summary (pdf, July 21, 2022), first supplemental report (pdf, Aug. 9, 2022), second supplemental report (pdf, Aug. 23, 2022), third supplemental report (pdf, Sept. 20, 2022), fourth supplemental report (pdf, Oct. 18, 2022), and fifth supplemental report (pdf, March 27, 2023) are available to the public.

Read Attorney General Drummond’s filing (pdf, May 1, 2023) in the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more information about Reed Smith’s ongoing investigation, please read our previous releases: