OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Glynn Simmons is the longest-serving wrongful conviction case in U.S. history.
He spent 48 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Simmons was exonerated earlier this year.
Last month, District Attorney Vicki Behenna announced that she was dropping the 1975 murder change against Simmons.
This month, attorneys filed a new motion on his behalf.
“Just because the district attorney is choosing not to pursue the charges, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re saying we believe Glynn is innocent,” said Simmons’ attorney, Amber Leal.
Simmons legal team has filed a motion to amend the order dismissing with prejudice; they want a judge to declare him actually innocent.
“Even though everybody knows he was wrongfully imprisoned for 48 years, there’s this is the last hoop we have to jump through in state court to get him to be able to get the compensation he deserves,” said Simmons’ attorney J.W. Coyle.
A finding of actual innocence will pave the way for a lawsuit down the road, to get compensation for the 48 years Simmons spent behind bars.
“The greatest day was watching Glynn’s shackles come off in court,” Leal remembers. “That was moving for us. If we could sit in court and hear a judge find that Glynn is innocent and that he gets to go forward in his life, knowing that, I think that would be the the cherry on top of all of this.”
Tulsa attorney, Joe Norwood leads Simmons’ defense team.
Norwood issued the following statement:
“The surviving victim in Mr. Simmons’ case, whose identification is the only evidence against Mr. Simmons, NEVER identified Mr. Simmons in a lineup. Per the Edmond police report, that was withheld from Mr. Simmons at his trial in 1975, the surviving victim identified a Delbert Patterson and a suspect whose identification was withheld from the report. The surviving victim only first identified Simmons at a preliminary hearing in March of 1975 where Mr. Simmons and Mr. Roberts were the only black men in the courtroom, in jail outfits and chains, sitting at the defendants table with their lawyers. The surviving victim was set up as much as Mr. Simmons and Mr. Roberts were. This is not an identification at all. Mr. Simmons and his lawyers stand by the victim’s identification of Mr. Patterson and the other individual in the line-up. There is other evidence indicating that the individuals the surviving victim actually identified in the lineup, who were in custody at this time on another murder case, are the true perpetrators in this case.”
D.A. Vicki Behenna may oppose the rcently filed motion to amend order dismissing with prejudice.
Her office has previously said the single eyewitness in the 1975 murder case continues to stand by her identification of Mr. Simmons.
Oklahoma state statute limits compensation for exonerated individuals to $175,000.
For Glynn Simmons, that’s less than $4,000 a year for every year he spent behind bars for a murder he did not commit.
“A finding of actual innocence is really important for [Simmons] to be able to get the compensation even from the state,” Coyle said.
Simmons may also file a federal claim for compensation.
Federal claims are much more difficult to win than a state claim, but there is no limit to the award.
Supporters have set up a GoFundMe for Glynn Simmons.