Home Jurisdiction Hearing set for arguments on Oklahoma appeal in McGirt case

Hearing set for arguments on Oklahoma appeal in McGirt case


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The United States Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for April 27 in an appeal from the state of Oklahoma in what is being called the McGirt decision.

The state argues in the Victor Castro-Huerta case that it has concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed against Natives on tribal reservations.

The state’s child neglect conviction and 35-year prison sentence of Castro-Huerta, a non-Native American, was overturned by the state appeals court.

Castro-Huerta was charged with malnourishment of his 5-year-old stepdaughter and has since pleaded guilty to a federal charge of child neglect and is awaiting sentencing.

The state says federal authorities have been overwhelmed since the court ruling that the state has no jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against Native Americans on reservations.

Castro-Huerta’s lawyers say only the US Congress can draw jurisdictional boundaries.

The Supreme Court in January agreed to hear the case at the same time as it denied Oklahoma’s request to overturn the McGirt decision.

The ruling found that some tribal reservations were never abolished by Congress and that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal charges against accused Native Americans on tribal land.