OCCA’s Controversial Ruling Resurrects Vacated Conviction & Sentence
This is Oklahoma lawyer James Wirth. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals recently made a controversial decision in the Kimberly Graham versus the Honorable Tracy Priddy case. The issue at hand concerns the McGirt case and the court’s decision to resurrect a vacated conviction and sentence. This decision is troubling as it disregards basic principles of law and sets a concerning precedent for future cases.
The Circumstances of the Case
Kimberly Graham was previously convicted in Tulsa County, a case that became relevant after the McGirt ruling. The court found that the northeast part of the state of Oklahoma is still Indian country, and therefore, the state cannot prosecute Indians for crimes. Graham, being a member of an Indian tribe, filed post-conviction relief requesting that her sentence be vacated as the court lacked jurisdiction. The court granted her relief, and the conviction and sentence were vacated. However, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the decision, leading to the resurrection of the conviction and sentence.
Judge Lumpkin’s Dissent
Judge Lumpkin dissented from the decision, stating that the rule of law and the finality of judgments are foundational tenets of our jurisprudence. He believed that the court disregarded basic principles of law to reach a desired result and lacked the authority to vacate a valid post-conviction order. Judge Lumpkin argued that while some cases may benefit from changes in the law, using those changes to write some perceived wrong is not applying the law in a uniform and consistent manner.
Call to Action
If you are dealing with criminal law in the state of Oklahoma and are impacted by the McGirt ruling, it is important to seek legal advice specific to your circumstances. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with a McGirt attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and get the help you need. Visit us online at makelaweasy.com.