Kimberly Graham's McGirt-Based Appeals Rejected, Ordered Back to Prison

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he’s hopeful the legal battle to keep Kimberly Graham in prison is over after she was ordered into state prison to serve out the remainder of her 107-year sentence.

Tuesday, May 21st 2024, 6:44 pm

By: News On 6, Emory Bryan


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Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he’s hopeful the legal battle to keep Kimberly Graham in prison is over after she was ordered into state prison to serve out the remainder of her 107-year sentence.

Graham was convicted in 2008 for five counts of manslaughter in what prosecutors said was a DUI crash for which Graham had several times avoided responsibility.

She left the original scene, only to turn herself in the next day, and though she was convicted and sentenced, she was released following an appeal based on tribal status, then re-arrested on tribal charges, released on appeal, and re-arrested last week when another layer of appeal failed in federal appeals court.

She was taken to the Tulsa County Jail and ordered back into the Department of Corrections to resume serving time.

She had been out for almost two years while the federal courts sorted out the case law.

District Attorney Kunzweiler said “Hopefully this is the last in a long saga of trying to overcome the McGirt-esque appeal process that Ms Graham has availed herself to” while criticizing the confusion created by the ruling on tribal jurisdiction. Kunzweiler said as cases go into appeals, more clarification of the law is emerging. “If it happened today, clearly we wouldn't be able to prosecute her, that would be a federal prosecution,” he said.

Graham’s appeal was rejected he said because the appeals had been exhausted before the McGirt ruling, and the federal court wouldn’t extend McGirt protections retroactively on settled cases.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond praised the decision, as did one victim’s family, while Graham’s attorney Richard O’Carroll complained “Two sets of rules. One for the government, one for the citizen."

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