Indian Law

Man Whose Case Led To Landmark Ruling Reconvicted By Feds

Aug 6, 2021
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma death row inmate whose legal challenge led to a historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty has been convicted of murder and kidnapping in federal court.

A federal jury in Muskogee on Thursday found Patrick Murphy, 52, guilty in the 1999 killing of George Jacobs in McIntosh County in eastern Oklahoma. Murphy faces up to life in federal prison when he is formally sentenced, but will avoid the death penalty.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The state's new attorney general has formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the ruling that held Oklahoma for more than a century wrongfully claimed jurisdiction over crimes within the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation.

Attorney General John O'Connor, who took office two weeks ago, is calling the court's July 2020 ruling "recklessly overbroad," says crime victims are being revictimized going through the legal process a second time, and says tribes and the state don't agree on a path forward.

Image Credit: The National Judicial College

Earlier this year, in its landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that, regarding the Major Crimes Act, much of the eastern part of our state remains as Native American land, since that land was never disestablished by Congress. So, how is McGirt playing out now in court rooms and legal offices across Oklahoma? And what does the immediate future hold vis a vis the McGirt ruling? Our guest is Aila Hoss, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores both cited the recent Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma in announcing action in two separate cases, some of the first legal maneuvers navigating what Shores' office calls their "new responsibilities."

Photo From Wikipedia

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a surprising 5-4 decision in the case of McGirt v. Oklahoma; the Court ruled that much of the eastern half of Oklahoma is still an Indian reservation. In doing so, the Court affirmed that -- because Congress had not expressly disestablished the Muskogee Creek Reservation, which was created well over a century ago -- that Reservation still exists when it comes to the Federal Major Crimes Act.