The tweet above from journalist Liliana Segura refers to an Oklahoma appeals court’s decision to halt an execution just three hours before the condemned man was supposed to die.
The appeals court now has two weeks to consider evidence that may prove the innocence of Richard Glossip, who was set to be executed for allegedly orchestrating the murder of his employer.
The fact that Glossip stared down his own death before the appeals court stepped in points to a massive flaw in the system — that innocent people can be executed.
Glossip’s last-minute reprieve was not necessarily an anomaly.
In December 2014, an appeals court halted the execution of Scott Panetti just eight hours before he was scheduled to receive a lethal injection.
While Panetti murdered the parents of his estranged wife and held his wife and daughter hostage for a night before surrendering to police, his medical records showed a long history of delusions. Allowed to represent himself at his 1995 trial, Panetti dressed as a cowboy and called over 200 witnesses, including John F. Kennedy, the Pope, and Jesus Christ.
Glossip was also at the center of a Supreme Court case, when he and his lawyers had tried to argue Oklahoma’s use of a sedative called midazolam violated the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The drug had been involved in several prolonged executions.
The Supreme Court ruled against him and two other death row inmates in June.
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