Supreme Court asked to declare that McGirt was retroactive

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year that Oklahoma had no criminal jurisdiction over a Native American on the Muscogee Creek reservation should apply to all prior criminal cases in Oklahoma involving Indians on reservations, lawyers for a Native American inmate told the court this week.

A petition filed on Wednesday for Clifton Merrill Parish says the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals wrongly decided in August that the Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma was not retroactive and didn’t apply to Parish.

“If allowed to stand, the Oklahoma court’s decision will leave thousands of individuals with state convictions that the State had no authority to impose,” the petition states.

The Supreme Court, which begins its new term on Monday, now has several petitions pending regarding the McGirt decision. The state of Oklahoma wants the high court to reverse its 2020 ruling, or, short of that, at least allow the state to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes involving Native Americans on reservations.

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