McGirt Impacts Oklahoma
Video Transcribed: City of Tulsa and Owasso seek to overturn McGirt. I’m McGirt attorney James Wirth, and that’s what we’re talking about, a new amicus curiae brief that has been filed in the United States Supreme Court where the city of Tulsa and the city of Owasso actually filed together jointly requesting a brief be on file and in it … And it’s actually in the Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta case. That’s the State of Oklahoma versus that defendant and is up on appeal to the United States Supreme Court and now the cities are wanting to have their say for information for the court to review in deciding what to do on that.
So that is a McGirt case. Specifically, it’s a McGirt case where it is a white or a non-Indian defendant and then an Indian victim. The lower courts have decided that, under those circumstances, based on McGirt and prior cases that deal with crimes on Indian land, the state of Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction to prosecute in that case. Therefore, the charges were dismissed and referred over to federal prosecutors in that case.
What the cities are asserting is that there have been so many referrals from Tulsa County as well as local city police that have not been filed either by the tribes or the federal governments that it’s amounting to some emergency and that the United States Supreme Court should do one of two things: one, find that the state of Oklahoma at least does have jurisdiction over non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians or they’re actually asking for a wholesale overturn of the United States Supreme Court decision just last year in McGirt and basically throw out that precedent for the United States Supreme Court and redo it.
The court has some … I should say the brief has some quotes in it in that regard where they talk about a few different cases where bonds have been set very low by tribes compared to what would be in state court, by the number of referrals that have gone over to federal courts and tribal courts and a small percentage of those have been picked up for prosecution, and essentially how these various cases are falling through the cracks.
It states in the second part there that there is no reason to refrain from overturning McGirt. Even though it’s just a brand-new United States Supreme Court decision just from last year, they’re suggesting wholesale overturn of that. It’s interesting that this is coming from the city of Tulsa because it’s actually the city of Tulsa, that has decided that McGirt is not applicable to the city because the city predates statehood.
That’s a decision that I don’t think will stand. So maybe it does make some sense that they would be filing this, but nonetheless, it’s just another amicus curiae opinion being filed in this United States Supreme Court case asking that McGirt be limited to where you have tribal defendants or be limited or be essentially completely overturned.
So just another case that’s coming down the line and we see a lot of different things going on related to McGirt and we’ve got multiple United States Supreme Court cases that are upon appeal where we’re going to see a lot of these issues resolved, but it may take a little while.
As you can see from the history of it, things go back and forth. We have Bosse. Then we have Wallace. You got 180 decisions, but hopefully, over a period of time, this will all be resolved and leveled out and everybody will know what the law is so there can be some predictability for the people of Oklahoma again.
But if you’ve got questions about how this may apply to your case or your circumstances, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that privately, confidentially. To get that scheduled with somebody at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.