A man accused of raping several women in the 90s believes his case should be thrown out.
Leroy Smith said he’s a tribal citizen and his case should be dismissed after the Supreme Court decision on tribal jurisdiction. Monday’s hearing was to see if state could move forward with a trial.
Accused serial rapist Leroy Smith did not comment to News on 6 as he walked out of the courtroom. His attorneys said they consider the day a win.
“The real issue is whether or not we are in the right court. And, for the second time, a judge has tried the law as it is written to the facts as presented and drawn the same conclusion,” said Smith’s attorney MJ Denman.
Smith’s case was the first Muskogee case affected by the Supreme Court ruling in July. The state dismissed the case and it was handed over to federal court. Since there is a federal statute of limitations for rape, the federal court could not have jurisdiction.
Smith’s attorney’s argued the ruling on tribal jurisdiction should apply for Smith because he has been a tribal citizen since birth. They also argued the court cannot overturn a prior ruling.
Muskogee County District Attorney Orville Loge argued Smith was not a tribal citizen at the time of the crimes and the ruling should not apply.
“We’re going through hearing after hearing after hearing just trying to decide who has jurisdiction and who doesn’t,” said Tammy Templeton.
Tammy and her sister Jamie were at the hearing because their mom Pamela claimed she was a victim. They say this another example of the Supreme Court ruling causing confusion and pain for victims.
“I just hope that we can get some help with the public and get the word out there. We need to get something changed because it’s not fair to the victims — not just our mother,” Jamie said.
“Today was disappointing but not devastating. We still have some hope. It’s just been kind of a nightmare, but we’re not giving up,” Tammy said.
Smith is still in jail, but the judge also said Smith’s lawyers could ask the court for Smith to be released.
District Attorney Orville Loge did not wish to go on camera today. He did say he has not made a decision on taking this case to the appeals court.