Supreme Court ruling places limits on McGirt
WASHINGTON D.C. (KSWO) - Today the state of Oklahoma has reclaimed some jurisdictional power, previously lost in the Supreme Court’s 2020 McGirt ruling.
The High Court has ruled that the state can prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on tribal land or against tribal members.
Previously under the McGirt ruling, which found that much of Eastern Oklahoma remained tribal land, only Federal courts could prosecute such cases.
Governor Kevin Stitt has taken issue with the McGirt ruling, since it came down in 2020, and today he celebrated the Court’s decision to return jurisdiction to the state.
Governor Stitt issued this statement following the new decision:
“Today’s ruling is a clear victory for all four million Oklahomans, the state of Oklahoma, and the rule of law. I am heartened that the Supreme Court ruled in our favor, allowing Oklahoma to prosecute non-Natives who violate the law and protect Native victims. Since the Court’s 2020 McGirt decision, federal prosecutors have declined thousands of cases like Castro-Huerta, a non-Native who monstrously abused his 5-year old Native stepdaughter. Justice has been delayed and denied to thousands of Native victims in our state for no reason other than their race. Now Oklahoma law enforcement can help uphold and enforce the law equally, as we have done for over a century.”
“This is a pivotal moment. For two years, as a fourth generation Oklahoman, member of the Cherokees, and Governor of the state of Oklahoma, I have been fighting for equal protection under the law for all citizens. Today our efforts proved worthwhile and the Court upheld that Indian country is part of a State, not separate from it. I look forward to working with leaders across the state to join our efforts in combatting the criminal-justice crisis in Oklahoma following McGirt.”
Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks also praised the decision as a victory for the state, releasing the following statement.
“This will ensure that the State of Oklahoma will continue to move forward with prosecution of non-Indian offenders by local authorities. This is a monumental moment and a giant step in restoring the State’s ability to keep the public safe.”
To read the full Supreme Court Decision, click here.
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