How Norwood.Law client Glynn Simmons served the longest sentence in America for a wrongful conviction

Simmons Ruling

By G.W. Schulz

An Oklahoma judge has formally declared Norwood.Law client Glynn Simmons innocent of a 1974 murder for which he spent 48 years in prison. The ruling was handed down by Oklahoma County District Judge Amy Palumbo in December 2023. Earlier in the year, Palumbo had vacated Simmons’s conviction and dismissed his case. 

But those decisions stopped short of ruling Simmons innocent until Palumbo took that additional step later in the year. Simmons is currently listed in the National Registry of Exonerations as its longest-serving wrongfully convicted person.

“[Glynn Simmons] had 50 years stolen from him – the prime earning years of his life, when he could have been getting experiences and developing skills,” Joseph Norwood told Oklahoma City news station KFOR-TV. “That was taken from him by no fault of his own.”

In December 1974, two men robbed a liquor store in Edmond, Oklahoma. They shot and killed a clerk and shot a customer in the head who survived. The customer’s memory would become the only meaningful evidence that prosecutors had to convict Simmons and another man, Don Roberts. 

But in addition to being shot in the head, the customer admitted to only glancing at the two men for a few seconds when she first entered the store. Simmons and Roberts were nonetheless convicted by an all-white jury and sent to prison following a trial that lasted just two days. (Both men are black.) 

Our client Simmons had an alibi, but police don’t appear to have ever investigated it. Over a dozen people today have given sworn testimony that Simmons at the time of the robbery was still in his hometown of Harvey, Louisiana, for the holidays. He’d only headed to Oklahoma City later for a job when the robbery investigation was already underway.

Not until previously unknown records from the investigation were revealed 20 years after the trial did hope begin to open for Simmons. Those records raised major questions about who the core witness in the case had actually identified during police lineups. Use the links below to learn more about Simmons and our work to free him from prison. 

Are you entangled in a legal dispute? Has the government charged you with a crime? If so, you’ll need the best attorneys around to tell your side of the story. We do more than just criminal law. We also practice personal injury, business, family, and estates. Norwood.Law will bring the same skill and commitment to you that we did to the case of Glynn Simmons. When the time arrives, contact Norwood.Law for a free consultation at 918-582-6464.