When the US Supreme Court last July found that Oklahoma has no jurisdiction over Native Americans inside the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) reservation, questions loomed about whether the ruling applied to the other reservations inside the borders of Oklahoma, including the Cherokee Nation and Chickasaw Nation.
Today, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the appeals of two convicted felons whose appeals rested on the McGirt decision.
One, that of Travis John Hogner, was based on the ideas that Hogner is a Native American and that the crimes for which he was convicted occurred in the Cherokee Nation Reservation.
Craig County prosecutors argued that McGirt did not cover Cherokee Nation, since it only specifically mentioned the Creek Nation.
Today the appeals court ruled that McGirt does cover the Cherokee Nation Reservation as well as the Creek Reservation.
In a second case, Shaun Michael Bosse was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson in 2010 in McClain County. His appeal hinged on the fact that he was a Native American and the crimes were committed inside the Chickasaw Reservation. Bosse did not claim to be a native, but his victims were citizens of the Chickasaw Nation, which means jurisdiction would fall to the tribe or the federal government under McGirt.
The court found that the Chickasaw Reservation is indeed intact, and the victims were indeed members of the Chickasaw Nation.
Thus, today’s rulings mean three of the Five Civilized Tribes of eastern Oklahoma have established in court that their reservations are intact for purposes of McGirt, meaning crimes committed by or against Natives inside the borders of those reservations fall under the jurisdiction of the tribes or the federal government, and the state has no jurisdiction over them.