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‘Not retroactive’

McGirt takes another hit in high court


Saying the McGirt decision that threw Oklahoma jurisprudence into a tailspin in 2021 is “not retroactive,” Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor declared a major victory for the state.

The gist of the McGirt decision charged the state lacked jurisdiction to prosecute violent crimes that occurred on Indian land or if the victim or perpetrator were members of an Indian tribe.

Hitting close to home, the decision called into question the conviction and death sentence of Shaun Bosse, who brutally murdered Katrina Griffin, 24, and her two young children – Christian Griffin, 8, and Chasity Hammer, 4 – in 2010 in McClain County.

The victims were members of the Chickasaw Nation.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously made that decision in Parish v. Oklahoma and on Monday, the United States Supreme Court refused to consider Parish’s appeal of that decision.

Clifton Parish was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2010 beating and shooting death of Robert Strickland in Hugo. He sought to have the nation’s highest court throw out his conviction by arguing that McGirt is retroactive.

O’Connor said Parish’s conviction is one of many that will now stand, with the Supreme Court’s decision announced today.

“This is an important victory for the safety of victims, families of victims, and the people of Oklahoma,” O’Connor said. “Victims and their families will not be required to relive their tragic experiences by testifying in new trials, or worse, seeing the perpetrators out in society.

“We are hopeful that this is the first step in having the McGirt decision overturned or clarified and limited. Even without retroactive application, McGirt has opened prison doors and let violent criminals go free.”

The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Muscogee (Creek) Nations, although they declined to file a brief in the Supreme Court, previously filed a brief in Oklahoma’s highest criminal court encouraging the retroactive application of McGirt, to void long-final criminal convictions.

The Nations were joined in their position by the pro-criminals’ rights interest group, the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, which filed briefs both before Oklahoma’s court and the Supreme Court.

“Despite finding ourselves on opposite sides of these legal issues, my office will continue to endeavor to work with the Indian Nations toward meaningful solutions that benefit all Oklahomans,” O’Connor said.


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