Brief filed: 02/11/2020
McGirt v. Oklahoma
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 18-9526
Decision below unreported (Okla. Crim. App. Feb. 25, 2019)
Because Oklahoma law allows challenges to the subject-matter jurisdiction of a criminal court to be raised at any time, the procedural bar applied by the state court of last resort was not an adequate ground in state law to avoid jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1257. The Court should reverse the decision of the state courts and remand with instructions to dismiss the charges against petitioner, because Congress has the sole prerogative to set the limits of state criminal jurisdiction in Indian country, and Congress has never given Oklahoma the authority to prosecute crimes committed by Indians in Indian country in that state.
Keith Hilzendeger, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Phoenix, AZ; Barbara E. Bergman, NACDL, Tucson, AZ.