MCN files amicus brief in speeding ticket case
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation released a statement on March 23 stating they filed an amicus brief in a speeding ticket case stemming from a Choctaw tribal member receiving the ticket in the city of Tulsa.
The case, Justin Hooper v. City of Tulsa, is now before the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. They heard oral arguments on March 23.
The appellant, Justin Hooper, a member of the Choctaw Tribe, received a speeding ticket in 2018 from the City of Tulsa while within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation. He was found guilty and paid the fine, however in 2020, he filed for post conviction relief in the Municipal Crimminal Court of the city of Tulsa, claiming the city of Tulsa did not have jurisdiction over tribal citizens while on the Reservation.
His appeal has since been elevated to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation filed an amicus brief with the court arguing against the city of Tulsa asserting jurisdiction over tribal citizens while within the Nation’s Reservation boundaries. The Nation’s Attorney General Geri Wisner, was in attendance for the oral arguments before the court.
Wisner stated: “The law is clear that the city of Tulsa’s claims have no legal merit. The case is just another novel attempt to undermine the criminal jurisdiction restored to tribes in the historic McGirt case.”
Principal Chief David Hill commented by stating “I’m proud of our legal team today, but it’s frustrating that we keep having to beat back these baseless legal attacks on our jurisdiction. The time, money and energy that goes into these cases would be much better spent working together to make our communities safer.”
While this case has made it to the Tenth Circuit, the issue of the McGirt ruling and whether or not it is only related to major crimes is still under consideration in many areas. While there is agreement and cross deputization in many counties with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, including Okmulgee County and the city of Okmulgee (Capital of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation) who still are not cross deputized.
According to state Senator Roger Thompson, calls are made to his office on a regular basis by those seeking help to get someone to respond to a call when they feel in danger. Thompson said most people just want someone from law enforcement to show up when they feel threaten, but however it is evidently not taking place. He also commented that many want a fair application of the law where one group cannot just ignore the law while the other is held to the law.
Okfuskee County Sheriff Jim Rasmussen works well with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in a cooperative effort. Okemah Police Chief Patrick Williams is also working to make sure the citizens of Okemah are kept safe and everyone obeys the law.
The historic McGirt decision changed the legal landscape, however, it is yet to be determined by the courts the full extent of the ruling.