Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced Wednesday he will step down from the office next week.
“Regrettably, certain personal matters that are becoming public will become a distraction for this office,” he said in a statement.
The resignation comes as Oklahoma state and tribal leaders juggle criminal jurisdiction confusion caused by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year that reaffirmed tribal territories once thought to be disestablished.
“This is the biggest issue that any attorney general in the history of this state has ever had to confront,” said Irven Box, a longtime Oklahoma attorney and legal expert.
The ruling, which came in the case of Oklahoma v. McGirt, said the state of Oklahoma does not have the right to prosecute major crimes that occur on tribal territory. As a result, hundreds of convictions could be thrown out because they were prosecuted by the state instead of federal or tribal courts.
Box said Hunter was a key figure in negotiations between state, tribal, and federal officials as discussions on a permanent fix take place.
Beyond McGirt, Hunter’s office is also facing several high-profile criminal cases like that of Julius Jones, who is set to argue before the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole board later this year.
“The death penalty issues are something he’s dealing with regularly too,” Box said. “It’s going to be a difficult task for a new attorney general to step in.”