Richard Glossip: Tenuous, Untrustworthy Evidence of Guilt

Richard Glossip is scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma on Wednesday (September 16, 2015). One of his current attorneys, Don Knight, has described his trial in marketing terms:
“Basically, you’ve got prosecution trying to sell their product [Glossip’s responsibility for a murder] to the jury.”

Knight argues that without an effective counter-narrative from the defense, the jury ‘bought’ the prosecution’s product.

As Barry Scheck writes in the Huffington Post,
“We … don’t know for sure whether Richard Glossip is innocent or guilty. That is precisely the problem.
If we keep executing defendants in cases like this, where the evidence of guilt is tenuous and untrustworthy, we will keep killing innocent people.”

In both Willie Manning’s cases evidence of guilt was also tenuous and untrustworthy. In his 1992 case it was probably last-minute revelations from the FBI (about false hair and ballistics testimony) that brought about the court’s stay of his execution. In his unrelated 1993 case it was a court’s acceptance that the prosecution had withheld evidence that resulted in the charges against him being dropped. If the exculpatory evidence had not been revealed in time, in either of his cases, Willie would by now be dead, executed in error.

It is shocking that Glossip might die on Wednesday simply because his attorneys’ investigations require longer than the allocated time to uncover evidence that could quite possibly, as in Willie’s cases, prove exculpatory.

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Statement by Richard Glossip:
“I have been fighting for my innocence for 18 years. I now understand how important my fight is, not just for myself but for everyone facing the death penalty for something they didn’t do. I’m not doing this for myself alone. I hope and pray that my eventual exoneration will help others, and that this country will finally realize just how broken our system is, and how easy it is to make mistakes. Let me be clear, I do not want to be a martyr—I want to live—but if the worst happens, I want my death not to be in vain. If my execution ensured no other innocent man was sent to the death chamber, I am prepared to die for that cause.”

Information about Glossip’s case, and action that can be taken in his support, can be found here.

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