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Attorneys react to Supreme Court tribal ruling

Posted at 10:07 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-11 00:13:02-04

Lawmakers and attorneys are working to overhaul an entire criminal justice system after the Supreme Court ruled the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is still a reservation.

READ MORE: Supreme Court rules much of eastern Oklahoma remains tribal reservation

So what does this mean for hundreds of criminal cases?

2 Works for You Reporter Tony Russell has reaction tonight from one defense attorney who’s fighting for Native American rights.

Russell spoke with Brett Chapman nearly two years ago when one of the first tribal sovereignty cases went to the Supreme Court.

Now that the ruling has happened—there’s concern in the legal community that natives, who were tried and convicted in Oklahoma District Court now have to be retired.

”Anybody is not trying to get anyone out of jail for free card. You’re just trying to follow the law here you like in the McGirt case. You hate to see it for the victims if it happens again, but this happens in appellate cases. There’s retails things of that nature—you know recognizing Native American sovereignty and trying somebody in the right court that’s just the right thing to do,” Chapman said.

Chapman said this is a victory for the treaty.

”It’s a victory in the sense that—if you’re a Native American and you follow the Supreme Court there was a time there when there was never a victory, every case went against you,” Chapman said.

So, what will these new cases where natives who were tried in Oklahoma district look like?

”So, it’s up to the officials on both sides to make it work out and I think they will, and you know, that’s a big thing with Native Americans too is being respected on a government to government basis and not as a subordinate to the state. So, it’s good in that regard, too.”

We’ll be hearing more in the coming months from lawmakers and the justice system on what those reforms will be.

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