WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court, which faces the consequences of its ruling last year that much of eastern Oklahoma falls within an Indian reservation, Said Wednesday that it would temporarily impede a Oklahoma court ruling that kills a prisoner. The state court said the Supreme Court ruling required the move.
The three liberal members of the court – judges Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – differ from the order of the Supreme Court, which gives no reasons and says that it will remain in force while the court considers the appeal of the able to hear.
But the order suggested the court could reconsider or narrow down its 5-to-4 ruling last year McGirt teen Oklahoma, which said that much of Oklahoma, including much of Tulsa, the state’s second largest city, consisted of Indian reservations. The decision prohibited prosecutions of Native Americans on those lands by state or local law enforcers, saying they should rather sue in federal or tribal court.
The ruling contains an unusual coalition, with Judge Neil M. Gorsuch joining the court’s Liberal bloc of four members, which included the three dissidents Wednesday and Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
Judge Ginsburg’s replacement by Judge Amy Coney Barrett has changed the dynamics on the court and could affect the cause of last year’s ruling.
In a disagreement last year, Chief Justice John G. Roberts jr. Warned that the court’s ruling would undermine Oklahoma’s criminal justice system.
“The state’s ability to prosecute serious crimes will be hampered, and decades of convictions in the past may well be thrown out,” he wrote.
The new case involves such a conviction of Shaun M. Bosse, who was sentenced to death for the murders of Katrina Griffin and her two young children. He has me. Griffin and her eight-year-old son stabbed to death, locked her six-year-old girlfriend in a closet and set the house on fire.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court in criminal matters, the conviction of mr. Bushes have thrown out under the McGirt decision. That meant he would be transferred into federal custody, and federal prosecutors said they would try him again.
The state court gave state prosecutors 45 days to request a review in the U.S. Supreme Court. Mike Hunter, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, asks the Supreme Court for a further stay while his office appealed.
Mr. Bosse is not a Native American, but his victims. Mr. Hunter said the distinction does matter, however determined previous cases that crimes committed on reservations by or against Indians cannot be prosecuted by state authorities.
Mr. Hunter told the judges that Bosse’s case was one of hundreds, if not thousands, in prospect. In many of them, Mr. Hunter wrote, rehearsals would not be possible, given limitations, loss of evidence and limited resources.
Lawyers for Mr. Bosse said that the granting of a stay in his case will not affect the other cases. They added that the consequences of the McGirt decision could not come as a surprise to the state’s lawyers, as they had predicted in their arguments in that case.