OKLAHOMA CITY — Attorney General Mike Hunter is filing a brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to seek guidance on cases affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling, according to the attorney general's office.
On July 9, the landmark case ruled that the majority of northeastern Oklahoma is still a Native American reservation, which changes the state's legal jurisdiction and law enforcement capabilities.
Now inmates are challenging their state convictions on historically tribal lands.
In the filing, the attorney general said that the Supreme Court created numerous issues that could result in the release of inmates convicted of violent crimes.
My team and I plan to challenge every single appeal that attempts to overturn longstanding convictions on historic tribal land. We are not questioning the Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt, but instead seeking to promote public safety by saying these convicted criminals waited too long to bring their claims. Also, we are asking the court to make clear that the state still has jurisdiction to punish non-Indians who victimize tribal citizens, which would provide the maximum possible protection to tribal members. In the meantime, we are asking the Court of Criminal Appeals to provide guidance on these cases and deny any requests by inmates attempting to get released from prison.
In the brief, the attorney general also asked the court to clarify how Native status is proven and asked for the burden to be put on the defendant.
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