McGirt v Oklahoma Summary
On July 9, 2020, the United States Supreme Court returned a decision that significantly changed criminal prosecution in Oklahoma. The court determined that boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation had not been reduced when Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907.
Because the Muscogee (Creek) Nation enjoys jurisdiction over its members within the boundaries of its reserved land, the decision meant Oklahoma had no authority to prosecute Muscogee (Creek) members for crimes under Oklahoma law. Tribal members can be prosecuted under tribal law, or in the case of major crimes, under United States federal law.
The decision directly involved one individual, Jimcy McGirt, who had been convicted of crimes under Oklahoma law. The case sets precedent, however, that controls how any Native American may be prosecuted on any of five reservations in Oklahoma. Those tribal nations include the Seminole, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw and Chickasaw nations.
Release from Prison is not Automatic
Significant consequences resulted from the decision. Tribal members convicted of Oklahoma crimes became eligible to have their cases dismissed. The five tribes may charge some of those people under tribal law. Others may be charged under federal law.
Changes that resulted from the decision became inevitable, but not automatic. Tribal members convicted of Oklahoma crimes may petition Oklahoma courts for release from prison, or from other terms of their sentences. Until a court determines they are eligible for release, their convictions may stand. Some have sought damages for their convictions in state courts.
Once released from their state convictions, tribal members might face charges in tribal or federal courts. Police and prosecutors throughout Eastern Oklahoma must now determine whether a person arrested or suspected of a crime is a tribal member.
Wirth Law Office has prepared several informative videos detailing the impacts of the McGirt v Oklahoma ruling. This page provides links to those videos, and other McGirt resources.
Free Consultation: McGirt Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you or a loved one are a tribal member who has been convicted of a crime in Oklahoma courts, a Tulsa criminal defense attorney can help you determine how the McGirt decision affects your case. If you are charged with crimes in a tribal court or you are a tribal member charged with crimes in federal court, a Wirth Law Office defense attorney can explore with you options for your defense.
For a free, confidential consultation about McGirt matters or criminal prosecution in Oklahoma Indian Country, contact Wirth Law Office through this Web page, or call the Tulsa attorneys at (918) 879-1681 .
To What Historic Reservation Boundaries Does the McGirt Precedent Apply?
Both McGirt and Murphy dealt with crimes alleged to have occurred within the historic boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation; however, the circumstances of that tribe’s land and
McGirt v. Oklahoma Boundaries Maps
Boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation boundaries can be found on the following map: wlo.me/MuscogeeCreekNation. It includes all or a part of each of the following Oklahoma counties: Creek County, Hughes County, Okfuskee County, Okmulgee County, Mayes County, McIntosh County, Muskogee County, Seminole County, Tulsa County, and Wagoner County.
Historic Boundaries of the Cherokee Nation Reservation
The historic Cherokee Nation boundaries can be found on the following map: wlo.me/CherokeeNation. It includes all or a part of each of the following Oklahoma counties: Adair County, Cherokee County, Craig County, Delaware County, Mayes County, McIntosh County, Muskogee County, Nowata County, Ottawa County, Rogers County, Sequoyah County, Tulsa County, Wagoner County, and Washington County.
Historic Boundaries of the Seminole Nation Reservation
The historic Seminole Nation boundaries can be found on the following map: wlo.me/SeminoleNation. It includes all or a part of each of the following Oklahoma counties: Seminole County.
Historic Boundaries of the Choctaw Nation Reservation
The historic Choctaw Nation boundaries can be found on the following map: wlo.me/ChoctawNation. It includes all or a part of each of the following Oklahoma counties: Coal County, Hughes County, Haskell County, Latimer County, Pittsburg County, Atoka County, LeFlore County, Pushmataha County, McCurtain County, Choctaw County, and Bryan County.
Historic Boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation Reservation
The historic Chickasaw Nation boundaries can be found on the following map: wlo.me/ChickasawNation. It includes all or a part of each of the following Oklahoma counties: Grady County, McClain County, Garvin County, Pontotoc County, Stephens County, Custer County, Murray County, Johnston County, Love County, Marshall County, Bryan County, and Coal County.
Constitutions of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma
Oklahoma is home to 39 federally recognized tribes, including five who lived in what is now Oklahoma before the United States was founded. Another five tribes that relocated here under the Indian Removal Act of 1830 were, at that time, called the Five Civilized Tribes. Today that group of tribes is more often called the Five Tribes of Oklahoma. These are the constitutions of the five tribes.