Oklahoma Court Lifts Stays in 2 McGirt-related Decisions

Beverly Cantrell - September 22, 2021 11:09 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday lifted stays in two cases it overturned based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state has no jurisdiction over crimes committed on tribal lands by non-American Indians against Native Americans.

The court lifted stays of its previous reversals of the murder conviction of Shawn McDaniel and the child neglect conviction of Victor Castro-Huerta.

The ruling comes after state Attorney General John O’Connor filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme appealing the state court’s decision that Oklahoma did not have concurrent jurisdiction in Castro-Huerta’s case.

O’Connor argued the state has concurrent jurisdiction in cases in which the crime was committed by someone who is not Native American, although the victim is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

The state court has repeatedly rejected the argument by both O’Connor and former state Attorney General Mike Hunter that Oklahoma has jurisdiction over crimes committed on tribal lands if the suspect is not Native American.

The court cited what is known as the McGirt decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma lacks authority over crimes committed on tribal reservations in which the defendants or the victims are tribal citizens.

O’Connor initially appealed the reversal of the murder conviction of Shaun Bosse but dropped that appeal when the state court ruled McGirt does not apply retroactively and reinstated Bosse’s convictions for the deaths of a woman and her two young children.

Federal prosecutors charged both Castro-Huerta and McDaniel, but have since dismissed the case against McDaniel.

 

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