Prosecution Can Depend on Crime Committed
Video Transcribed: My name is Ted Hasse. I’m a federal defense attorney in Oklahoma handling federal matters.
Today I want to talk briefly about issues around the Assimilation Act. This is sort of inside baseball, but what I’m finding is defendants and their family members are getting very sophisticated with regard to what’s going on with criminal matters. I’m hoping it won’t be too deep.
If you are facing a criminal investigation or you have a family member facing a criminal investigation by the FBI or some other federal agency, if you’re facing federal criminal charges or charges on the tribal matter, please give me a call at 918-932-2800. But briefly on the Assimilation Act, what people are discovering is that sometimes now on a federal case, they’re facing a state charge. The way that that can happen and the way that is happening is under the Assimilation Act. Now, under the Assimilation Act, the federal government, and the federal prosecutors at the US Attorney’s office can charge a defendant with a state crime that’s listed under a state statute.
That’s happening here in Oklahoma, where they are particularly doing this, where it comes to burglary charges. Sometimes we’re seeing it with child neglect charges. The catch is for the federal government, they can’t just pick and choose. They can’t do that with any crime that they want to charge. They can’t just go through Oklahoma’s criminal statutes and pick out what they want to use. There has to be no comparable federal criminal statute, and so that’s why we’re seeing particular ones happen over and over again. You want to have sophisticated defense counsel in these cases because the stakes can be pretty high when they’re applying Assimilation Act to bring in an Oklahoma State statute.
In short, that’s particularly because they’re also pulling in the statute’s mandatory minimums, and that’s really burning defendants right now in federal prosecutions. And just briefly to give an example, with the first-degree burglary statute, there’s a seven-year mandatory minimum under the state of Oklahoma, but in practice, it’s not being treated like a mandatory minimum because state judges are able to give what defendants like to call paper time, which is suspended or deferred time. It’s not really a mandatory minimum. However, when it gets imported in using the Assimilation Act into a federal prosecution, on sentencing, the defendant is getting tagged with that seven-year mandatory minimum. So the stakes can be very high, much higher than if the defendant were in a state prosecution.
Again, my name is Ted Hasse and I am a Tulsa criminal defense attorney. If you’re facing a federal criminal charge or a tribal criminal charge, please do give me a call. I’m happy to talk to you. My number is 918-932-2800.