Federal murder charges in 11 Oklahoma cases due to McGirt
MUSKOGEE, okla. (AP) - Eleven men whose murder convictions were overturned in Oklahoma following a US Supreme Court ruling on jurisdiction in tribal areas have been charged with federal murder, the Justice Department said Friday.
A federal grand jury in Muskogee has indicted cases that were either reversed by a state appeals court or dismissed by prosecutors, the ministry said in a press release. The reversals and firings were based on McGirt's decision that Oklahoma had no jurisdiction over crimes committed in tribal reservations where the accused or victims were tribal citizens.
Defendants include Devin Sizemore, 26, whose conviction and life imprisonment were overturned on April 1 for drowning his 21-month-old daughter.
Court of Appeal rulings overturning McGirt-based criminal convictions have dramatically increased the workload for federal prosecutors having to retry cases in federal court.
U.S. Representative Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, enacted laws in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that would allow Chickasaw and Cherokee nations to settle with the state on criminal justice.
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