Longest serving wrongful conviction exoneree in US history, Glynn Simmons, has sued the cities and police who framed him

Innocent Man Imprisoned a Half Century

OKLAHOMA CITY – A young Black man wrongfully imprisoned and sentenced to death a half century ago, Glynn Simmons, has sued the cities and police who falsified evidence and suppressed exonerating evidence to frame him for murder.

In late December 1974 at the time of the crime he was later accused of, Simmons was 700 miles away in Harvey, Louisiana celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

No physical evidence ever connected him to the crime. The only “evidence” against him was grossly falsified police line-ups and police manipulation of a victim who briefly witnessed the crime before being horribly injured during it. 

The witness was first interviewed four days after the crime, but her descriptions of the suspects were vague and unhelpful. She told one of the defendant police officers in the present lawsuit that she did not believe she could remember more if given more time because “it would get all jumbled up in my mind.” According to today’s suit, the witness “went on to participate in approximately eight different lineups and identified at least five different individuals as suspects.”

The two police officers named in today’s suit, the late Edmond Detective Sgt. Anthony Garrett and retired Oklahoma City Detective Claude Shobert, hid their own internal reports about her mutually contradictory statements and wrote up false reports to cover up the inconsistencies.

Only as the result of an investigator uncovering the suppressed reports decades later was Mr. Simmons finally exonerated. During the entirety of his 49-years-long wrongful incarceration, Simmons, now 70 years old, consistently insisted he was innocent. He was finally released from prison in July 2023.

Besides losing his own young adulthood and middle-aged years to prison, Simmons had a 3-year-old son at the time of his wrongful imprisonment, whose childhood and adulthood he also missed.

In today’s lawsuit Mr. Simmons is represented by Jon Loevy, Elizabeth Wang and Jordan Poole of the national civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy, Joseph Norwood of Norwood Law Firm P.C. of Tulsa, and John Coyle, III of Coyle Law Firm of Oklahoma City.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country.

Joseph Norwood is a highly experienced trial lawyer, out of Tulsa OK, with 20 years’ experience practicing business law, personal injury, family, civil rights and criminal defense. In addition to proving Glynn Simmons’ innocence, his many accomplishments also include proving the innocence of a client who was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 28 years.

Coyle Law Firm, who served as Norwood’s local counsel in OKC on Simmons’ post-conviction, is a team of criminal defense professionals boasting a proven track record for countless “not guilty” verdicts. John W. Coyle III was the recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award as Oklahoma’s Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer in 1995 and recipient of the Barry Albert Award from the Oklahoma County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association for Excellence in Advocacy in 2005.

A copy of today’s lawsuit, Glynn Simmons v. City of Edmond, Special Representative of the Estate of former Detective Sergeant Anthony David Garret, City of Oklahoma city, and former Detective Claude L. Shobert, Case No. 5:24-cv-00097-J, can be found here.

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