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State Prevails at U.S. Supreme Court, Can Protect Crime Victims in Eastern Oklahoma

State Prevails at U.S. Supreme Court, Can Protect Crime Victims in Eastern Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General John O’Connor released the following statement, “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court stood up for the safety of Oklahomans of native American heritage in eastern Oklahoma.  The Supreme Court recognized Oklahoma’s sovereignty and jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indians in eastern Oklahoma.

“Federal prosecutors are only prosecuting one in four felony referrals from law enforcement officers in eastern Oklahoma.  Now the State prosecutors can take up the slack and get back to what we have been doing for 113 years.  The Biden DOJ predicted a “surge” in crime in eastern Oklahoma in 2023.  With this decision, hopefully that surge can be avoided.

“This decision significantly limits the impact of McGirt.  It vindicates my office’s years-long effort to protect all Oklahomans—Indians and non-Indians alike—from the lawlessness produced by the McGirt decision.  While we still have a long road ahead of us to fix all of the harms our State has experienced as a consequence of McGirt, this is an important first step in restoring law and order in our great State.

“As we move forward, Oklahoma welcomes the opportunity to continue to work with our tribal and federal partners from both the eastern and western sides of the state.  As those that brought our Great State together knew, Labor Omnia Vincit – labor conquers all things.  It will take hard work and an unwavering willingness to do the right thing for the right reasons to ensure every Oklahoman, regardless of ancestry, receives equal justice under the law.”



This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta. This decision holds that the State of Oklahoma has concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government to prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes against Indian victims within Indian Country.

“Today’s decision does not diminish the United States’ trust responsibility to our tribal partners,” said United States Attorneys Christopher J. Wilson, Clinton J. Johnson, and Robert J. Troester. “The United States Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma will continue to enforce federal law in Indian Country. We will also continue to coordinate and cooperate with our state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners as well as state and tribal prosecutors to promote public safety and provide justice to all Oklahomans in Indian Country.”

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