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Court: Oklahoma has no concurrent authority on tribal lands

September 16, 2021 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday again ruled that Oklahoma has no concurrent jurisdiction over crimes committed on tribal lands by non-American Indians against American Indians.

The court rejected the state’s appeal of the dismissal of the manslaughter conviction and 19-year sentence of Richard Roth, 42.

The opinion by Judge Robert Hudson cites what is known as the McGirt decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma lacks authority over crimes committed on tribal reservations in which the defendants or the victims are tribal citizens.

“Adoption of the State’s theory of concurrent jurisdiction is a political matter that may be addressed by Congress, not this Court,” the opinion said.

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Roth, who is not Native American, was convicted in the 2013 death of Billy Jack Chuculate Lord, 12, a member of the Cherokee Nation who died when a vehicle struck him from behind as he rode a bicycle in Wagoner, which is within the Creek Nation.

The state is appealing the state court’s April ruling that it does not have concurrent jurisdiction in the case of Shaun Bosse. Bosse, who is not an American Indian, was convicted of killing a woman and her two young children, who were Native American.