More state criminal cases evaporate in wake of McGirt; CN begins refiling work

·5 min read

May 10—With several hundred local criminal cases dismissed due to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation and federal prosecutors continue working to refile those that occurred in the 14-county reservation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction over crimes on tribal reservations. If both the defendant and the victim are Native, federal authorities would have jurisdiction over felony cases, and tribes over misdemeanors.

Local officials say the state would have jurisdiction over cases wherein both the defendant and victim are non-Native, even if they take place on the "reservation." State prosecutors do not have criminal jurisdiction over crimes involving Natives with the Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Muscogee nations — and perhaps others.

The CN Attorney General's Office has filed 660 cases and received 67 referrals for juvenile offenders since the beginning of January.

AG Sara Hill said the U.S. Attorney's Offices picked up many cases affected by the McGirt ruling. CN District Court has refiled more than 700 dismissed cases and is working to file more.

"We continue to work with families and victims while ensuring safety for all citizens on the Cherokee Nation reservation and Oklahoma," Hill said.

District 27 District Attorney Jack Thorp, who has voiced concerns for victims of violent crimes, said there is significant concern for the community if dismissed cases involving violent offenders aren't refiled by the federal government or CH.

"We are all working together, though, to do what we can to keep that from happening," said Thorp.

Hill said the tribe carefully prepared for the McGirt decision.

"[The Cherokee Nation] continues to be hard at work ensuring public safety and justice can continue now that the court acknowledged the state illegally exerted prosecutorial authority involving Natives on our lands for decades," said Hill.

The following charges had been dismissed as of Monday, May 10:

—James Russell Parker, was charged with murder after he was accused of causing a motor vehicle collision while intoxicated that killed a Hulbert woman.

—Austin Yanez's three separate cases of drug charges were dismissed as well as a possession charge for Brandy Yanez.

—Teri and Frank Bird were charged with second-degree burglary and possession of a controlled dangerous substance after they were found inside a vacant house Feb. 10.

—The charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle was dismissed for Shane Ennis. On March 22, deputies were advised of a stolen vehicle and found it on State Highway 10. Ennis claimed he borrowed it because he was being chased.

—Richard Smith was charged with first-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of Dayne Whitehorn in 2020. Officers responded to Riverside Park to find Whitehorn unresponsive. Witnesses said Smith and Whitehorn had been fighting when the shooting occurred.

—Cody Anderson was charged with violation of a protective order after deputies responded to a house where he was found. A woman said Anderson became irate and wasn't supposed be there.

—On Jan. 31, officers responded to a domestic violence complaint, and Jorge Jordan said he choked and hit a woman. The woman said Jordan sexually assaulted her and began hitting and choking her. Jordan was charged with domestic assault and battery by strangulation.

—J.J. Samples was arrested during a traffic stop after he admitted to having methamphetamine and marijuana on Jan. 6. Samples had been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute.

—Pamela Schultz was jailed after she hit an officer in the face. Schultz allegedly assaulted a customer at Dollar Tree and claimed the individual was trying to kill her. Her charges were battery on a police officer, obstructing an officer, and assault and battery.

—Michael McGregor was charged with eluding/attempting to elude, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, and no driver's license. Other charges included driving while under the influence of alcohol, endangering other while eluding/attempting to elude police officer, driving under suspension, operating a motorcycle without proper endorsement, and no security verification.

—Brandon Hembree's charges included third-degree burglary, knowingly receiving or concealing stolen property, eluding/endangering another, domestic abuse by strangulation, petit larceny, driving while under the influence of alcohol, possession of a controlled dangerous, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding 31-35 mph over, no seat belt, and obstructing an officer.

—Charges of knowingly receiving or concealing stolen property, computer fraud/unlawful use of computer/system had been filed against Sarah Morris.

—Charges of domestic abuse-assault and battery and disrupting, preventing or interrupting an emergency telephone call had been filed on Jobey Still.

—Gregory Cullum was charged with second-degree burglary, and Garlin Keen with domestic abuse-assault and battery charge from 2018.

—Zachariah Lake was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and public intoxication this year.

—Knowingly receiving or concealing stolen property charges were dropped for Christopher Thompson.

—Gilbert Holmes had been charged with larceny from a house, unauthorized use of a credit card, driving while under the influence of drugs, no security verification, and taxes due state.

—Chase Vann was charged with endangering others while eluding/attempting to elude police officer, driving while under the influence of drugs, resisting an officer, and no driver's license in 2019.

—Charges of trafficking in illegal drugs and possession of firearm after felony conviction were leveled against James Barnes.

—Felicia Valdez-Larocco's larceny of merchandise from a retailer, trespassing after being forbidden, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia charges were dismissed.

—Forgery and possession charges had been filed against Marissa Solenberg.

—Amanda Oosahwee had a charge of domestic assault and battery from 2020.

—In 2020, Ethan Charles was charged with third-degree burglary, larceny of automobile, aircraft, or other motor vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident involving damage.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting