Federal Court rejects OCCA’s attempt to overturn convictions.
I’m James Wirth, a lawyer in Tulsa. In a recent decision, the federal court has given the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (OCCA) a serious reprimand. This case, Graham v. White, involves a post-conviction relief request in the state court after the McGirt ruling. The Bossie decision further clarified that state courts do not have jurisdiction over Indians in Indian country under McGirt. As a result, certain convictions were overturned and sentences were vacated.
However, the OCCA later issued the Wallace decision, disregarding the subject matter jurisdiction issue and treating it as a new procedural rule. This allowed them to avoid vacating sentences retroactively, despite lacking jurisdiction in the first place. The state of Oklahoma then attempted to revive these convictions by filing to vacate the vacation of the sentence and conviction.
Federal Court Smacks Down OCCA’s Decision
After the case moved to federal court on a habeas corpus petition, the Northern District of Oklahoma reviewed the OCCA’s decision and strongly criticized their handling of the matter. The federal court stated that the OCCA arbitrarily disregarded state law and its own procedural rules, making false assumptions about the legality of certain orders. The federal court ordered the defendant in this case to be released, as their detention was deemed unlawful.
This decision is significant as it is the first case related to McGirt issues that has reached the federal court. Many similar cases are currently working their way through the court system, and this ruling sets a precedent for how these cases may be decided in federal court.
Consult with an Attorney for Personalized Legal Advice
If you are facing similar circumstances or have questions about your case, it is crucial to consult with an attorney privately and confidentially. They can provide specific legal advice tailored to your situation. To schedule a consultation with a Tulsa criminal defense lawyer in our office, please visit makelaweasy.com.