The man with the longest wrongful conviction in US history is suing police

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The man who served The longest wrongful conviction in US history He is now suing law enforcement officials whose investigation into a murder nearly 50 years ago led to him spending most of his life in prison.

Attorneys for Glenn Simmons filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against two former Oklahoma police detectives and their departments alleging the two concealed evidence that would have proven Simmons’ innocence in a fatal 1974 shooting.

A judge ordered Simmons released from prison last year after serving 48 years for his wrongful conviction Carolyn Sue Rogers diesliquor store clerk Simmons is accused of robbery in Edmond, a city about 15 miles north of Oklahoma City.

Simmons’ legal team alleges that retired Oklahoma City Detective Claude Schubert and the late Detective Edmund Sgt. Anthony Garrett hid evidence that would have proven Simmons’ innocence during a robbery of an Edmond liquor store. Simmons was convicted of murder in 1975, always maintained he did not commit the crime and insisted he was in Louisiana at the time of the shooting, but he spent 48 years in prison. Until an Oklahoma County judge ordered his release in 2023 He then ruled that Simmons was “actually innocent” later that year.

Simmons’ lawyers argue that his constitutional rights were violated because investigators withheld a police report showing that eyewitness Belinda Brown — who was also shot in the head but survived — did not actually identify Simmons during the lineup. Attorneys point to Brown’s involvement in numerous other formations and her identification of at least five different individuals as further evidence of Simmons’ innocence. They also allege that investigators falsified reports to cover up inconsistencies from Brown, who herself told Garrett in early January 1975 that her memories “would be completely mixed up.”

“Garrett and Schubert concealed the fact that they fabricated evidence and manipulated Brown’s identity, and never disclosed this information to (Simmons), his attorneys, or prosecutors,” the attorneys wrote in the lawsuit. “(Simmons’) arrest was based solely on evidence that was concealed and fabricated by defendants Garrett and Schubert. There was no probable cause to suspect him in the liquor store robbery and murder.”

Judge Amy Palumbo ruled to approve Glenn Simmons’ claim of “actual innocence” during a December hearing in Oklahoma County Circuit Court.

more: With the release of Glenn Simmons, has the 1974 murder of Carolyn Sue Rogers become a cold case?

The lawsuit was filed on Friday in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Simmons is represented by attorneys John Lovey, Jordan Paul and Elizabeth Wang Loevy & Loevy, a national civil rights law firm Headquartered in Chicago. Simmons is also represented by Joe Norwood, His attorney in Tulsa for several years, And John Quayle From the Oklahoma City-based Coyle Law Firm.

Norwood and Cowell successfully called for Simmons to be released and formally discharged in 2023. The attorneys said Simmons It was necessary to find “actual innocence” in an Oklahoma County court in order to formally begin a claim for financial compensation Throughout the decades he spent unjustly imprisoned.

“He’s seeking what the jury will give him, and we’re confident that if this case goes to a jury trial, it will be more than $10 million,” Wang told The Oklahoman, part of the USA TODAY Network, on Friday. “Oklahoma City has an ordinance that says they are required to recoup up to $10 million. That’s what they have to do.”

Glenn Simmons reads the court order as his attorneys, Joe Norwood and John Quayle, left, his cousins, Cecilia Hawthorne, and Madeline Jones, right, look after Judge Amy Palumbo ruled to uphold Glenn Simmons' claim of actual innocence during a hearing in December The first is in Oklahoma County Court.

Glenn Simmons reads the court order as his attorneys, Joe Norwood and John Quayle, left, his cousins, Cecilia Hawthorne, and Madeline Jones, right, look after Judge Amy Palumbo ruled to uphold Glenn Simmons’ claim of actual innocence during a hearing in December The first is in Oklahoma County Court.

Simmons’ attorneys say the cities of Edmond and Oklahoma City are liable for constitutional violations “under their official policies.”

“Cities have failed to promulgate any adequate rules, regulations, policies, or procedures regarding: the handling, preservation, and disclosure of exculpatory evidence; the writing of police reports and witness depositions; the conduct of lineups and identification procedures; and meaningful measures,” the attorneys wrote. Illegal behavior.”

more: How much should wrongly imprisoned Oklahomans pay? The legislator is working to raise the amount

When contacted by The Oklahoman on Saturday, Schubert, now 79, said he knew nothing about the lawsuit, but confirmed that he worked for the Oklahoma City Police Department from 1968 to 1988. He also said he did not remember anything about The liquor store murder and related crimes. Lineups or the Glenn Simmons case.

“If it’s on paper, I have to stick to that. I wouldn’t change anything, because I don’t remember anything,” Schubert said. “At that time, 49 years ago, if I wrote it down, it was still the same and nothing had changed. “

Schubert also said he was regularly assigned to investigate burglaries and was not usually assigned to work homicides unless the homicide detectives were “all tied up,” and even then, he said, he was usually in an assistant role, not a leader.

“After 49 years, there had to be something really special for me to remember, and since I don’t remember any of it, there’s nothing I can do about it,” Schubert told The Oklahoman.

Spokesmen for Edmond and Oklahoma City said Friday they could not comment on ongoing litigation.

Another man, Don Roberts, was convicted in 1975 of Rogers’ murder, although he said he was in Texas at the time of the crime. He and Simmons were initially sentenced to life in prison, before a 1977 US Supreme Court ruling led to their sentences being amended to life imprisonment. Roberts was eventually released in 2008, but according to law enforcement, his conviction still stands.

This article originally appeared in The Oklahoman: Glenn Simmons, wrongfully imprisoned for 48 years, is suing the police

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