Native Americans Charged in Chickasaw Nation, May Be Subject to Dismissal
Video Transcribed: McGirt does apply to the Chickasaw Nation. I’m McGirt attorney, James Wirth and we’re talking about a new decision from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the decision in Bosse, and it interpreted, took essentially the rules from McGirt on how to determine whether a tribal, a nation reservation has been disestablished. It applied it to the Chickasaw nation and found that it was never disestablished.
So, what that means is that for the territory of the historic boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation, the state of Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction to charge defendants and has always lacked jurisdiction to charge defendants in that territory, meaning that current charges are going to be dismissed if either the defendant is Native American or Indian, or the victim of the crime is Native American and historical cases where people have been convicted, who are Native American for crimes that occurred in that territory are subject to being dismissed through post-conviction relief proceedings.
Now that historic boundary of the Chickasaw Nation, that includes all or part of the following counties, Grady County, McClain County, Garvin County, Pontotoc County, Stephens County, Custer County, Murray County, Johnston County, Love County, Marshall County, Bryan County, and Cole County.
So for anybody who is Native American, Indian, who has been charged or convicted, or has a pending case in any of those territories of historic boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation, they may be subject to dismissal.
And if it’s historic, or if it’s a prior conviction, it may be subject to being vacated because that’s what occurred in this case, is that the person was actually charged with three counts of murder, Bosse was, and he was convicted and he actually got the death penalty.
But because not him, but his victims were Native American, the court has found that the state lacked jurisdiction to charge him, to try him, to convict him, to sentence him, to put him on death row, and all of that has gone away.
The court has found that the conviction and sentence are vacated and the court remanded it back to the trial court with instructions to dismiss.
That doesn’t mean that he gets off necessarily scot-free. He can be recharged potentially in federal court, if the statute of limitation is not passed, and if there’s sufficient evidence that still exists.
This case originally was filed in 2010, so an amount of time has gone by, so it can be difficult for these cases to be re-prosecuted, but this is what we’re going through. After the precedent in McGirt v Oklahoma, there’s going to be a lot of changes, going to be a lot of convictions vacated.
If you’ve got questions about how this may apply to specific circumstances or cases, you’re going to want a confidential consultation related to that. If you’d like to speak with an attorney at my office, you can get that scheduled by going to makelaweasy.com.