What is McGirt?
McGirt v Oklahoma is a landmark United States Supreme Court case that was decided on July 9, 2020. The defendant, Jimcy McGirt, was accused of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact. He was put on trial in Oklahoma in August of 1996. In 1997, he was convicted in Wagoner County and sentenced to two 500-year sentences and life without parole.
He later appealed his conviction, claiming that he was a member of the Seminole Nation, the crime took place on the Muscogee (Creek) reservation, and the State of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction in his case.
His appeal went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where five out of nine judges took his side. They claimed that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation had never been disestablished.
Therefore, Oklahoma didn’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute his crimes. Since they were considered severe crimes under the Major Crimes Act of 1885, they would need to be tried federally.
On August 18, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma’s federal grand jury indicted McGirt for three counts of major sexual crimes. In early November, he was found guilty on all three counts. He was sentenced to at least 90 years in federal prison with the possibility of fines up to $750,000.
What Does McGirt Mean?
McGirt v Oklahoma is an important case because it sets a precedent for crimes committed by or against Indians on tribal land. The McGirt decision has been applied to all of the Five Civilized Tribes (Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw), along with several other Oklahoma tribes that were determined never to have been disestablished.
While this decision affects how future crimes will be tried, it has also been applied retroactively. Due to what is called Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Oklahoma never had the right to handle crimes committed on tribal land either by an Indian or against one.
This means that anyone who was convicted of such a crime in Oklahoma can file an appeal to have their conviction vacated. This goes for both misdemeanors and felonies.
In the case of misdemeanors, the crime could be retried in tribal court, where the suspect could be convicted again. For felonies, they must be tried in federal court. However, if the 5 year statute of limitations has passed on certain crimes, they cannot be tried again either tribally or federally.
In both future and past cases, the defendant must prove that McGirt applies. He/she must prove 1) the crime was committed on tribal land, 2) he/she or the victim is a tribal member, and 3) he/she or the victim has some quantum of Indian blood.
If you have been charged with a crime in Oklahoma but believe that McGirt applies to your case, contact a federal defense attorney. Ted Hasse has plenty of experience with McGirt, so he can help you determine whether your case qualifies for an appeal because of McGirt.
If charges against you in Oklahoma have been dropped because of McGirt, and you’re facing federal charges, you need a federal defense attorney. While McGirt may be fairly new, federal charges are not new to Ted Hasse. He knows how to give you the best chance at success in a federal trial.
He has offered defense in white-collar crimes, cybercrime, drug charges, gun charges, and violent crimes.
Free Consultation with a Federal Defense Attorney
Going up against charges in federal court can be unnerving, but you can trust Ted Hasse to fight for you. He strives to make the process as simple and painless as possible. For a free consultation, call (918) 932-2744.