(RightWing.org) – A desperate appeal against a conviction for pedophilia has dramatically escalated after reaching the Supreme Court. In an almost unbelievable twist, the justices ruled that not only is the jail sentence imposed on a child molester void, but almost half of Oklahoma is, in fact, a Native American reservation.
The Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday on an appeal lodged by a pedophile who didn’t feel like spending the rest of his life in jail – and in the process, they’ve undermined the status of an entire state.
- Jimcy McGirt, who belongs to the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, was convicted by the state of sexual assault on a female minor in 1996. He was sentenced to 1,000 years in prison and wasn’t due to ever be released.
- McGirt’s appeal against his conviction was refused by a succession of courts, but last December the Supreme Court agreed to hear it. The case was heard on May 11 and the decision was announced on July 10.
- In a shocking judgment, the Supreme Court announced that when the Oklahoma Enabling Act of 1906 was passed, allowing the former territory to be admitted to the US as a state, Congress hadn’t voted to reduce the substantial reservations in the territory that belonged to the Five Civilized Tribes.
- Most of the reservations had been incorporated into Oklahoma Territory by the Oklahoma legislature before the Enabling Act was passed, but the Supreme Court has just ruled that states have no power to reduce Indian reservations — only Congress can. And, in this case, Congress didn’t.
- As a result, the justices have decided that close to half of Oklahoma is, in fact, still Indian reservation. The land affected by this judgment is home to 1.8 million people, among them the 400,000 residents of Tulsa.
- A minor result of this is that McGirt’s conviction is now void because he was not tried in a federal court – and state courts have limited jurisdiction in reservations.
- The bigger issue is that now much of Oklahoma will fall under tribal jurisdiction, Tribe members in that area will be exempt from paying state taxes, and there are also serious implications for law enforcement.
- Around 8,000 felonies a year are tried in the affected area. Now, state courts can’t try many of the perpetrators, and tens of thousands of people who’ve already been convicted could be freed, and might even be able to claim compensation.
The Supreme Court did rule that while McGirt’s current conviction is void, he can be retried in a federal court without violating double jeopardy. So, despite the chaos his appeal has caused, he still might not get away with his crime.
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