Oklahoma tribal jurisdiction problem


This is native America calling. I'm Taraji would the. Us Supreme Court is again looking at a case that involves a crime a citizen of the Muskogee Creek nation and whether or not someone should have been tried in federal court. Jim C mcgirt was convicted of raping a child in Oklahoma State Court. He received a life sentence plus five hundred years. He maintains a conviction is invalid because he should have been tried in federal. Not State Court. Mcgirt is citizen. A federally recognized tribe the cases similar to a claim made by Patrick Murphy. A citizen of the Muskogee Creek Nation. He admits he murdered a man in nineteen ninety nine but he maintains he should have been tried in federal court. A ruling in his favor could up in his death sentence. The question on both of these cases is over land and Oklahoma's unique status with tribes and whether Congress properly disestablish reservation boundaries more than a century ago. We are inviting you into this conversation. Did you learn more about it? Maybe you've been following the long and have some thoughts on this. What a decision that would go either way would mean for tribal nation's sovereignty land status go hidden. Dial in our phone lines are open. You can join us today at one. Eight hundred nine six tweet four. That's also one eight hundred nine nine native and with us today at a Denver Colorado is Mary Kathleen Nagel A. She is a partner at pipe stem law in a citizen of the Cherokee nation. My pleasure to have her here Mary Kim Mayor Catherine Welcome. Thank you so much. It's an honor to be here. Great to have year Also join us to Ann Arbor Michigan. Today is Riyaz. Kenji in he is a partner at Kenji and Katzen and he represents the Muskogee Creek nation in the mcgirt case. My pleasure to welcome here Riyaz. Welcome thank you for having me. Tara and thank you for being here with us today in Merry Catherine Let's start with more details on this case and just essential things you think. People need to understand When we talk about what this really could mean why headline say Oklahoma Could turn into chaos go ahead and establish a little bit more so I I do have to say as someone who was born in Oklahoma and as a citizen of a tribe in Oklahoma I I find a lot of headlines that Oklahoma has been promoting the incredibly disappointing. And I think Truth Bending is very kind way to describe them and I of course defer to Muskogee Crete nations attorney Who was also listening here in this interview because this is their reservation at stake but the tenth circuit was very clear a couple years ago and it's decision. Congress has never disestablished the creek nations reservation. That means it's still in existence and that's the you know plain simple truth and of course the brief that My Law Firm submitted was on behalf of the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center as well as tribes that have implemented the restored tribal criminal jurisdiction in the Violence Against Women. Act from twenty thirteen and so the points we were making simply Just how chaotic it will be and how troubling it will be for the tribes to have women involved is all of a sudden. A new precedent is established which no federal quarter Supreme Court has really held this. Before that. In instances where. Congress has not just established a reservation. Court should feel free to do so. That would actually create chaos. But I know Oklahoma certainly want folks to think that the sky is going to fall. It is not The reality today is that Christians evasion has never been established by Congress. It would actually be more destabilizing for the Supreme Court to do that. In this instance Then to uphold the tenth circuit decision and say. Actually the reservation has not been disestablished. Congress which is in fact the case and I think Oklahoma sort of grasping at straws here in terms of the different arguments. They're coming up with but the fact that a reservation still exists does not alter the individual ownership of the land within the reservation so non Indian landowners business owners that doesn't change doesn't affect their ownership of their homes or their land or the vast majority of the crimes perpetrated within the borders of the reservation. The state will still maintain criminal jurisdiction over many crimes. It's not It's not as easy stabilizing this. Oklahoma would have you believe in. I do need to make a correction. I was given wrong information In the INTRO Talking about his ruling could up in his death sentence. It's not Fact and we'll get closer into the Patrick Murphy case coming up but Mary Catherine when we think of all of this and Really what a decision in the supreme court could mean Either way let's talk a little bit about them. Yeah it's it's actually if the Supreme Court in this instance and Riyaz can explain this to what we're dealing with now is a bit of a procedurally positioned different case than Murphy Murphy was The state of Oklahoma seeking cert seeking the Supreme Court's Review. After the tenth circuit upheld the continued existence of the reservation since that decision has not been fully Adjudicated on the merits from court has not issued a written decision. This last time they did grant cert on The current case mcgirt. And so you know in that case You know this is coming out of the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision to hear the The appeal that McGrath had filed the Oklahoma Supreme Court. And you know again. It's the same question of okay the Tenth Circuit has said. The reservation still exists Oklahoma still wants to assert criminal jurisdiction over an air. You know a few flip crimes that are actually clearly left to the federal government into to the tribal government. And that's that's really what's at stake here. It's a small number of crimes and And at the end of the day this is really what sovereignty is about. And there's no other sovereign that has more interested steak right then a tribal nation when it comes to protecting children and its citizens on its own land and at the end of the day You Know Oklahoma has made a lot of arguments. They've tried to make it sound. Like you know half of the state will go back to quote unquote tribal ownership which is not at all the case. the fact that a reservation exists does not alter the ownership of who owns the land inside the borders of the reservation. And that's the case in South Dakota. That's the case in the state of Washington. That's the case with every reservation in the United States right. Now there's a lot of non Indian ownership of reservation land especially the simple fact because of the dog acts and various other federal laws over time so at the end of the day What you know create nation and all of the folks who filed briefs in support of creation like my client the national indigenous women's Resource Center. It's really asking for a maintenance of the status quo. Don't change anything. Oklahoma is actually asking for something that would upend a hundred years of Supreme Court precedent and when completely alter the law around winner Reservation Candy disestablished? And how

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