Inmate Claims He Was Held Illegally As Confusion Remains After McGirt Ruling

Thursday, September 24th 2020, 10:19 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero


An inmate who was in the Rogers County Jail claimed he and other inmates were held in the jail illegally because they’re tribal citizens.

When it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the McGirt v. Oklahoma case, there is still mass confusion from all sides in dealing with tribal jurisdiction.

“They don’t got jurisdiction. If you don’t got jurisdiction how the hell can you charge me?” former inmate Dustin Marris asked.

Marris said he just bonded out of the Rogers County Jail as of Wednesday. He said he shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Marris was arrested and booked for possession of a firearm and drugs as a former felon.

He said because he is a tribal citizen, he should’ve been moved to a different detention facility. Sheriff Scott Walton said there is no such thing.

“I think their mass confusion on the fact that there’s people that think I’m a Cherokee citizen, I need to be in a Cherokee citizen jail, that doesn’t exist,” Walton said. “So we’re very well within our means to hold these individuals, we have an obligation to, it’s not an optional thing.”

Walton said his office has gotten similar complains since the McGirt ruling was made. He said the larger issue is communicating where the cases of native Americans will end up: federal or tribal court.

“We’re doing what statues require us to do, that’s holding inmates on state charges, but right now, the biggest unknowns are ‘where is all the stuff going?’” Walton said. “There’s still so many questions that are unanswered.”  

Sheriff Walton said there is a docket coming up in October to review many McGirt cases in Rogers County, just like in other counties since the court’s decision was announced.