Tulsa Attorney BlogMcGirt: Tulsa County DA is Stipulating to Tribal Membership but Setting Up Blood Quantum Battle?

US Supreme Court Ruled That for Vast Areas in Northeast Oklahoma Lacked Jurisdiction to Charge Native Americans

Video Transcribed: The County DA’s office is stipulating to tribal membership and location being on the reservation per certain McGirt cases being prosecuted there.

I’m Tulsa attorney, James Wirth. And we’re providing a little bit of information about procedurally, how some of these McGirt cases are being handled. So, a little bit of background, the United States Supreme Court on July 9th, 2020, decided that for vast areas in Northeast Oklahoma that the state courts, meaning the county courts, the district attorney’s offices, particularly Tulsa County, lacked jurisdiction to charge Native Americans, if that crime occurred on the reservation, which now they’re saying that most of Tulsa County is Muscogee Creek Reservation.

The rest of Tulsa County is Cherokee Reservation and surrounding counties have similar issues based on the locations of these reservations.

So, for some of these, the state is giving up on some issues, but they’re also setting up a battle on others. So, we got this in a case that we’ve got some hands-on to do a little bit of work on.

We got this agreement from the state to stipulate that the defendant is a member of a tribe, and that the crime occurred within reservation territory.

But they wanted to include specific language regarding the exact quantum of blood for the defendant, which is unusual because all of the rules that we see that have been provided by the higher courts, none of them require any specific level of blood.

Different tribes may require that to be a member, but we’ve already proved membership, but the state wanted that in there. So, it seems like they’re working on making up an argument for blood quantum, meaning they’re trying to say that they can prosecute certain Native Americans if they don’t meet some blood threshold.

That said we haven’t seen that official argument yet. That’s just what we’re seeing, or expecting may occur based on them wanting the specific blood quantum listed. Even though that was something that the higher court did not suggest was needed and did not request.

So, that is limited though. As of now, Tulsa County is only doing that in certain cases that are up on appeal that are for crimes within the Muscogee Creek Nation. For those that occurred within the Cherokee Nation, they’re still fighting those at this time. We expect that that’s going to stop at some point in the future. But, as of now, they are.

If you’ve got questions about your case or a McGirt v Oklahoma related matter, you want to talk to an attorney about it. If you want to talk somebody in my office and you got to makelaweasy.com.

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