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SCOTUS will hear Oklahoma case Tuesday

Posted at 10:54 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 23:54:50-05

An Oklahoma case will be heard by the nation's highest court Tuesday.

It's a test to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's treaty going all the way back to the 1800s.

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's treaty considers it to be a reservation and how its members are criminally tried in Oklahoma's court system.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler one of the many attorney's fighting to protect the current system. Where a Native American… like Patrick Murphy can be charged with a crime and tried in state court.

Murphy's 1999 murder case was recently challenged because of his claims to be a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

"Huge would be the impact. I don't want to sound like I'm saying something that's outside the realm of possibility, but life as we known it could change significantly with regard to how cases are handled," said Kunzweiler.

Brett Chapman, a criminal defense attorney and member of the Pawnee Nation argues this case affirms the tribe’s sovereignty.

“What I've got to say to is America has to honor our treaty promises I mean that's what this goes back to. It's unfortunate that this may create an inconvenience for oil and gas companies and local law enforcement, but at the end of the day, Andrew Jackson in 1832 when they come over here they signed a treaty to have this land as long as the grass grows and it's still growing," said Chapman.

The high court is expected to hear oral arguments in Washington… a decision could take months

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