The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether Richard Glossip, a death row inmate in Oklahoma, deserves a new trial in light of newly disclosed evidence and an extraordinary concession from the state’s Republican attorney general.
Mr. Glossip was convicted in 1998 of arranging the death of his employer, the owner of a motel in Oklahoma City. Two independent investigations have cast doubt on his guilt, and he has attracted support from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and state lawmakers from both political parties.
The state’s attorney general, Gentner F. Drummond, told the justices that the state had “come to the difficult but essential conclusion that Glossip’s capital conviction is unsustainable and a new trial imperative.”
He added, “The injustice of allowing a capital sentence to be carried out where the conviction was occasioned by the government’s own admitted failings would be nigh unfathomable.”
Lawyers call such statements “confessions of error,” and courts ordinarily give them great weight. In May, after hearing from Mr. Drummond, the Supreme Court halted Mr. Glossip’s execution while the justices considered whether to hear his appeal.
Mr. Drummond’s briefs were notable for a second reason: The lead lawyer representing the state was Paul D. Clement, who was solicitor general in the administration of George W. Bush and is a star of the Supreme Court bar, having argued more than 100 cases before the justices.