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Oklahoma court reinstates sentence in Castro-Huerta case

August 4, 2022 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma court on Thursday reinstated the conviction and sentence of a Tulsa man whose case led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated the child-abuse conviction and 35-year-prison sentence of Victor Castro-Huerta, 37. The court had vacated his conviction and sentence after a U.S. Supreme Court 2020 decision that the state lacked criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country in cases involving tribal citizens.

Castro-Huerta is not a Native American, but his victim was.

In a separate decision earlier this year, the nation’s high court ruled the state can prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed against tribal citizens on tribal land. Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor had asked the Oklahoma appeals court to reinstate its judgment and sentence so that Castro-Huerta was not released from prison.

Castro-Huerta’s attorney did not immediately return a Thursday message seeking comment.