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Sister Helen Prejean: Will Oklahoma Free Death Row Prisoner Richard Glossip After SCOTUS Hears Case?

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In an extraordinary development, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Oklahoma death row prisoner Richard Glossip will now get the chance to argue for a new trial, after maintaining his innocence for three decades. Glossip has faced nine separate execution dates and been given his final meal three times. In 2015, he was saved from death just hours before his execution only after prison officials admitted they had ordered the wrong drug. On Monday, Democracy Now! spoke to Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death penalty activists, who has been Glossip’s spiritual adviser since 2015. “I believe what will happen is they will remand it back for a new trial, which I don’t believe any court in Oklahoma is about to do, because they did so many underhanded things that will all be exposed, and I think they’ll let Richard go free,” says Sister Prejean.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In an extraordinary development, though, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that Oklahoma death row prisoner Richard Glossip will now get the chance to argue for a new trial, after maintaining his innocence for three decades. Glossip has faced nine separate execution dates, been given his final meal three times. In 2015, he was saved from death just hours before his execution, only after prison officials admitted they had ordered the wrong drug.

Well, last Monday, Richard Glossip was granted what might be his last lifeline. The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear his appeal, which is also supported by Oklahoma’s elected Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond.

On Monday, Democracy Now! spoke to Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death penalty activists, who has been Glossip’s spiritual adviser since 2015. We asked her to respond.

SISTER HELEN PREJEAN: The response of the Supreme Court to grant cert to Richard Glossip was greeted in my heart and by the lawyers and by Richard himself ecstatically. I mean, what a miracle it is, coming from three really close calls to execution, and then to see the turn of events in his case, where — because of his good lawyer, Don Knight, who was in there with Oklahoma legislators, going quail hunting with them and really befriending them, then bringing them to death row to meet Richard Glossip. All these guys are for the death penalty. It’s a red state. And they meet Richard, and they begin to look at all the questions in his case, and they get in his court. They get on his side, and they begin to speak out.

Then, unbelievable to me — I had never seen this happen before — the attorney general of the state of Oklahoma meets Richard, sees the case, and actually filed, with the defense attorneys, to the Supreme Court, saying, “The state made mistakes in this case, and we withdraw the death penalty.” So we were waiting and waiting on the court, because they’ve had it several months. What are they going to do, if you have the main prosecutor in a state withdrawing the death penalty? The Supreme Court is not a prosecutor. You know, it’s an adjudicator and judge. But it took them a long time to acknowledge it and to grant cert, with — the arguments will probably be heard in June.

So, over 25 years of the new evidence that surfaced of all the state that all they did wrong will finally be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. And I believe what will happen is they will remand it back for a new trial, which I don’t believe any court in Oklahoma is about to do, because they did so many underhanded things that will all be exposed, and I think they’ll let Richard go free.

AMY GOODMAN: Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death penalty activists, has been Glossip’s spiritual adviser since 2015. She’s the author of Dead Man Walking.

Next, President Biden has paused approval of new liquefied natural gas projects. We go to Louisiana. Stay with us.

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