McGirt v. Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two of the most powerful Native American tribes in Oklahoma said Monday they’ve reached an agreement on federal legislation that would address concerns over criminal jurisdiction in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Oklahoma’s top transportation official said improvements in partnership with the Chickasaw Nation to relieve traffic backups on I-35 at Highway 9 are on hold because they’re not the right solution, not because he consulted with the governor’s office, which has come out against the project.

The Muscogee Nation

The Muscogee Nation this week announced a rebranding, centering its public image around "Muscogee" -- not "Creek." 

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

After six hours of deliberations Monday, a federal jury found former Tulsa Police officer Shannon Kepler guilty on charges related to the 2014 killing of his daughter's 19-year-old boyfriend.

Prosecutors charged Kepler in a three-count indictment in November. The jury on Monday found Kepler not guilty of first-degree murder but guilty of discharging a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence, which were second-degree murder and assault with a dangerous weapon. The assault charge is for shooting at Jeremy Lake's younger brother.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Congress must take action to allow American Indian tribes to compact with state governments to prosecute crimes in Indian Country, Cherokee Nation Attorney General Sara Hill said Tuesday.

Office of Attorney General

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s attorney general on Wednesday asked the state’s highest criminal court to reconsider its ruling overturning a man’s murder convictions and death sentence because of jurisdictional issues stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination that much of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on March 11 overturned the conviction and sentence of Shaun Michael Bosse, 38, and rejected Attorney General Mike Hunter’s claim that the state had concurrent jurisdiction in the case.

Whitney Bryen-Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday ruled the state did not have jurisdiction to prosecute a former Tulsa police officer who was convicted of manslaughter in 2017 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

Former Tulsa officer Shannon James Kepler, 60, is a member of Creek Nation who was convicted of killing his daughter’s boyfriend in Tulsa on land within the historic reservation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man’s murder convictions and death sentence have been overturned following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that much of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday reversed the decisions against Shaun Bosse, 38, because the crimes occurred on land within the Chickasaw Nation’s historic reservation and the victims were Native American.

An Oklahoma lawmaker who is a proponent of reforming court fines and fees does not plan to carry legislation on it this year, dealing a blow to advocates who see that step as a priority.

During a panel discussion at Oklahoma Policy Institute’s budget summit this week, Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson (R-Okemah) said Oklahoma’s courts are actually in line for a supplemental appropriation of around $15 million early in the legislative session because they haven’t collected enough in fines and fees this fiscal year. The pandemic is largely to blame.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McGirt v Oklahoma that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation was never disestablished, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma have seen more than four times as many criminal defendants.

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Court saw an even bigger increase in cases.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday invited leaders of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma to begin formal negotiations related to last year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty.

Stitt said in a statement he will welcome the leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole nations to begin discussions “to address and resolve the potential issues that have arisen” as a result of the ruling. Stitt didn’t say when those discussions might begin.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tribe leaders of the Cherokee and Chickasaw Nations want Congress to allow them to make agreements with the state of Oklahoma in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding criminal jurisdictions.

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.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A member of the Seminole Nation who was convicted in state court of sexually assaulting a child was found guilty by a federal jury on Friday.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in July that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against Native Americans in parts of the state. The ruling came in a challenge from Jimcy McGirt, 72, to his 500-year prison sentence and conviction in 1997 for molesting a child.

After the Supreme Court decision, a federal grand jury indicted McGirt on three counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A former Tulsa Police officer serving 15 years for manslaughter in the 2014 shooting of his daughter’s boyfriend will face a federal murder trial.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma announced on Friday Shannon Kepler is being charged in federal court with first-degree murder in the death of Jeremy Lake.

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A task force appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt made no specific recommendations Thursday in its report concerning the impact of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared a swath of eastern Oklahoma counties remains an Indian reservation.

The report calls for consistent laws and regulations in the state governing taxation, zoning and business regulations, which Stitt said will be up to Congress to provide.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a request from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration to allow the state, not tribal nations, to regulate environmental issues in Indian Country, even those lands that may be inside historical tribal reservation boundaries.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Attorney Bill Barr promised more manpower and federal aid to Oklahoma on Wednesday to help tribal governments and federal prosecutors deal with an increase in criminal cases stemming from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

During a visit to the Cherokee Nation headquarters, Barr said the U.S. Department of Justice plans to fund two federal prosecutor positions in the northern and eastern U.S. districts of Oklahoma to handle the increased caseloads.

Shane T. McCoy / U.S. Marshals

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr is planning a visit to Oklahoma on Wednesday with leaders of the Cherokee Nation and federal prosecutors from Tulsa and Muskogee.

Barr is expected to lead a roundtable discussion at the tribe’s headquarters in Tahlequah with Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., the tribe’s Attorney General Sara Hill, and U.S. attorneys from the northern and eastern districts of Oklahoma.

Among the topics Barr is expected to discuss is funding for staff increases, according to a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation convicted of murder in state court and another convicted of sexually assaulting a child in cases at the center of a major U.S. Supreme Court ruling on tribal sovereignty are now facing felony charges in federal court, U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester announced on Monday.

A federal grand jury in Muskogee returned criminal indictments against Jimcy McGirt, 71, for three counts of aggravated sexual abuse, and Patrick Dwayne Murphy, 51, for murder and kidnapping.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The man whose case led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Muscogee (Creek) Nation land — and much of eastern Oklahoma — remains an Indian reservation now faces a federal trial.

Creek citizen Jimcy McGirt was convicted in state court in 1996 of raping a 4-year-old girl on tribal lands, but that conviction was vacated after the Supreme Court ruling in his favor.

McGirt, 71, was transferred from the James Crabtree Correctional Center to the Muskogee County Jail earlier this week and has been charged in federal court to prevent his release.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

At a Tuesday press conference at the U.S. Attorney's Office in downtown Tulsa, federal, state, municipal and tribal officials said they are all effectively working together to ensure public safety is not negatively impacted as jurisdictional questions are resolved following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

File photo

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a brief on Monday asking the state Court of Criminal Appeals for guidance on cases affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma.

The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners on Monday approved an agreement between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police and the Tulsa County Sheriff for law enforcement in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

Sheriff Vic Regalado said his deputies will be authorized to enforce laws on Muscogee (Creek) Nation land.

Joe Ravi / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations and the State of Oklahoma released an agreement on Thursday to help the state’s congressional delegation write legislation that would settle jurisdictional questions in the wake of last week’s McGirt decision.

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."

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Native American man convicted in Oklahoma of first-degree murder and another who pleaded guilty to manslaughter had their convictions vacated because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that much of the eastern part of the state remains a reservation on which tribal members are subject to federal and tribal law, not state law.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation

In a stunning 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Oklahoma tribes in McGirt v. Oklahoma, saying much of the eastern half of Oklahoma is still an Indian reservation.

supremecourt.gov

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a decision that state and federal officials have warned could throw Oklahoma into chaos.

The court’s 5-4 decision, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, means that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa, the second-largest city.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Neil Gorsuch appeared Monday to be a pivotal vote for the proposition that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation, a question the Supreme Court failed to resolve a year ago.

The justices heard arguments by phone in an appeal by a Native American man who claims state courts have no authority to try him for a crime committed on reservation land that belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

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