There Are No Preliminary Hearings in the Cherokee Nation Court System
Video Transcribed: How is Cherokee Nation tribal court a little bit different than state court proceedings? Hi, my name is Ryan Cannonie, I’m an attorney in Tahlequah with Wirth Law Office.
And one thing that I’ve noticed since I’ve been practicing in the Cherokee Nation court system versus my years working in state courts around Oklahoma is that there are differences in the procedures and how the court systems function that a lot of times people don’t really recognize and don’t realize until they get in there.
One of the major changes is felonies. There are no preliminary hearings in the Cherokee Nation court system. There’s been some argument between myself and the attorney generals on this, but they don’t. They don’t give preliminary hearings.
You have a probable cause determination whenever you’re first arraigned, that time period. You can actually request, you can challenge that. But under their statutes, the challenge puts all the burden on you.
So you have the state court in a preliminary hearing, or it has to determine probable cause, meaning that it’s likely you committed the crime that you’re being charged with, but the state, the prosecutors have to prove it against you.
And the Cherokee Nation court system, they have that determination upfront. If you challenge it, the burden switches to you, and you have to prove them wrong. So it’s a little bit of a different situation. After that initial probable cause determination by a judge, then there’s nothing else until you either plea or you go to trial. Those are your options then at that point.
So understanding this difference, and there are a lot more differences too, is one of the things that you need to be talking to whenever you talk to an attorney, especially if you filed one of these post-conviction relieves or dismissals based on your enrollment with a Native American tribe.
If you’re within the Cherokee Nation or Creek Nation, then you probably want to give us a call because we’re going to be able to help you navigate through those waters and understand the differences between state court and tribal court. There are lots of differences. For a quick and free consultation with a Tahlequah Criminal Defense Attorney call the Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah.