US Supreme Court Ruled That the Muskogee Creek Nation Was Never Disestablished
Video Transcribed: The McGirt class action lawsuit is being appealed. I’m McGirt attorney James Wirth, and we’re talking about an update to the class-action lawsuit filed in Okmulgee County District Court, seeking compensation for fines and costs paid by Native Americans that were improperly prosecuted in state courts. All right, so go in a little bit of history here, going back to July 9th of 2020.
That’s when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Muskogee Creek Nation was never disestablished, and therefore that many courts in Northeast Oklahoma lack the authority to prosecute Native Americans because that is all tribal reservation land.
Well, some of those people that were charged and prosecuted in those courts filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that they should have never had to pay that money out. They want that money back and they want class-action status so they can get money back for all the people that were improperly charged and paid fines and costs to state courts.
In November of 2020, a district court in Okmulgee County dismissed that case, alleging that venue wasn’t proper and this subject matter jurisdiction wasn’t proper because it should have been filed under the Post Conviction Relief Act, and alleging just for the municipalities that they had the authority to prosecute because of the Curtis Act and section 14 thereof.
Well, that was dismissed there, but now we have an appeal that has been filed. And that has been filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, requesting that the district judge be overruled. And when things are filed civilly, it goes to the Supreme Court and they normally assign it to a lower Oklahoma court of civil appeals.
In this case, the Oklahoma Supreme Court saw that the issue was an important issue that’s going to be applicable to many cases and many people, and because of that, they decided to hang onto it themselves. So we got to jump over the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals.
It’s going directly to the Oklahoma Supreme Court for a decision on the merits of these things. And that may mean that the court in Okmulgee County gets confirmed on appeal, upheld on appeal, or maybe that it gets reversed. And we’re going to be following this to find out.
If you are dealing with these circumstances, have questions related to McGirt and how it may apply to your cases, you may want to talk to an attorney about your specifics. So for that, you can go to makelaweasy.com.