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Man could go free after court overturns manslaughter conviction on McGirt claim | Crime News

Roth challenged his convictions on grounds that the state of Oklahoma didn’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute him under the McGirt ruling.

The 2020 Supreme Court decision found that since Congress had never disestablished the Muscogee Nation reservation, it still existed for purposes of criminal jurisdiction when a crime victim or suspect is American Indian and the crime occurred within the Muscogee reservation boundaries. The ruling has been expanded to include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole nations’ reservations.

The boy who was killed was a member of the Cherokee Nation, and the death occurred within the Muscogee Nation reservation.

In its written 3-1 opinion, the court acknowledges “the exceptionally hard impact today’s decision will have on the victim’s surviving family and friends, not to mention the community where these crimes occurred …”

Despite this, the ruling states, “we have no choice but to apply the governing federal law.” The court added: “The matter is simply out of our hands after McGirt.”

The ruling sets up the possibility that Roth could be freed from prison early when the appellate court lifts its hold on the ruling after 20 days.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has typically held rulings for 20 days to give federal authorities time to seek an indictment.