McGirt Had Major Impact in Oklahoma
Video Transcribed: What are some changes that have happened in the Cherokee Nation court system since the rulings of McGirt and Hogner? Hi, my name is Ryan Cannonie, I’m an attorney in Tahlequah with Wirth Law Office.
And one thing that I know frustrates my clients and it frustrates me, it frustrates myself too, when happens, is there are sometimes clients who will, or potential clients will ask questions about the Cherokee Nation court system, and specifically about changes in the law and how it’s going to affect their case.
And I can explain the difference, we have this option here, we have this option here, but when it comes down to it, a lot of what’s going on right now is still kind of untested. And so, it depends, or these are your possible options or possible outcomes, comes out a lot of times. And I know that that’s not very secure sounding, but that’s where we’re at at this point.
There have been lots of changes throughout the court systems in Oklahoma and with the tribes ever since the McGirt decision came out. And coming up on almost a year, this coming summer will be a year. There are all types of things going on that we still don’t really have answers for.
So one thing that has happened, especially in the first part of 2020, was that the Cherokee Nation started really updating their statutes to get ready so they could prosecute more crimes.
Now, this means changes to everything from adding crimes like aggravated DUI, I believe is one of the new crimes they’ve added that weren’t crimes before, to extend their statute of limitations, meaning the length of time they have to charge someone from when the event occurred or allegedly occurred, all the way to when they charged them, went from about three years to 10. And so they did, there’s a few, I think, maybe a little bit more, but mostly it’s 10 across the board on most of the new Cherokee Nation statute of limitations.
How is that going to play out in court systems and appellate courts? We don’t know. Most of this stuff is untested. As an attorney, I can advise you on what potentially could happen and what options you have, and which options I think are better. That’s my job.
My job is to advise you through the court system and try to help you the best I can. But I can’t predict the future. No attorney can. Anyone that tells you they know 100% this is what’s going to happen, they’re not being honest with you.
So if you have questions, if you have concerns, then give us a call. I can walk you through what’s out there, what we do know for sure. There are certain things that we do know for sure, as we know as of right now, today and probably for the foreseeable future, the five tribes in Eastern Oklahoma have reservations and Cherokee Nation has a reservation. The Muskogee Creek Nation has a reservation.
That means if you are a Native American and on those reservations and are alleged to have committed a crime, the state cannot prosecute you. They can’t go in, they can’t put you on probation. They can’t make you pay anything to them. They can’t do any of that.
But what we don’t know is how long, like if there’s going to be a fix in federal legislation at some point, if there’s going to be any of these changes that they’re making as state courts are dismissing cases and the tribes are picking them up under statutes that they just implemented a month or two ago, how those are going to play out when they’re held up to appellate court review. These are the things we don’t know. We know what the potential outcomes will be, but not the full outcome.
So give us a call. We can walk you through all the potential outcomes of your situation. We can talk about the benefits, kind of cost-benefit, if you will, on doing a certain path versus a different one, kind of going through what are your options and why this option may be better or worse than another. For a quick and free consultation with a Tahlequah Criminal Defense Attorney call the Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah.