Oklahoma prosecutor argues that McGirt is not retroactive

May 22, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma court has agreed to consider a prosecutor’s assertion that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state lacks jurisdiction for certain crimes on land within tribal reservations is not retroactive.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday granted Pushmataha County District Attorney Mark Matloff’s request for a stay of court proceedings in the case of Clifton Parish and directed Matloff and defense attorney Debra Hampton to file briefs in the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in what is known as the McGirt decision that Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction for crimes committed on tribal reservations in which the defendants or victims were tribal citizens.

A state district judge in April overturned Parish’s second-degree murder conviction in the 2010 beating and shooting death of Robert Strickland, ruling that Parish is a member of the Choctaw Nation and the crime occurred within the historic Choctaw Reservation.

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Federal murder charges have since been filed against Parish, who pleaded not guilty.

Matloff says a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a separate case found the Supreme Court did not apply its McGirt ruling retroactively.

Hampton, Parish’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone call for comment Saturday.