Supreme Court Decision On Tribal Land Murder Could Split State In Two
The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear the case of an Oklahoma murder on tribal land that's nearly 20 years old.
The case surrounds the conviction and death penalty sentence of Patrick Dwayne Murphy in 1999 on Creek Tribal land. Murphy has appealed his case several times saying he never should have been convicted on Oklahoma law because the crime happened on reservation land given to the tribes in 1866.
In the 150 years since then it's been thought that Oklahoma statehood did away with the tribal reservation, but the problem is Congress never took back the agreement.
This is the territory we're talking about. The state divided on that purple line. The case has the potential to split the state into two jurisdictions which could have wide ranging implications on everything from criminal justice to voting districts to federal and state funding.
"The problem with that is there’s a string of cases coming along that have the possibility of restoring the kind of division that Oklahoma had in the territorial days meaning Indian territory and Oklahoma territory with two completely different sets of rules. That’s not functional for the 21st century," said Pat McGuigan, Political Analyst.
The Supreme Court could hear the case as early as this fall when it returns from summer break. Oklahoma could have an answer to this problem by 2019.