Man at center of tribal court decision sentenced to life without parole in Federal Court


The man at the center of the Supreme Court’s ruling on tribal jurisdiction will spend the rest of his life in federal prison.

Jimcy McGirt was convicted Wednesday afternoon in the Eastern District of Oklahoma for sexually abusing a child. McGirt has been sentenced to life in prison on all three counts of child sexual abuse and his sentence will run concurrently.

McGirt’s name is associated with the Supreme Court’s ruling on tribal jurisdiction since last year, when the High Court ruled that tribal reservations were never removed in eastern Oklahoma. This means that criminal cases involving Native American suspects or victims must be tried in federal or tribal court.

McGirt was first convicted in state court in the mid-1990s for sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl. He received a life sentence in that case, but then challenged jurisdiction.

The United States Supreme Court then ruled that the state did not have the power to convict him because the crime occurred on tribal lands. After the Supreme Court ruling, his case was retried last year in federal court where he was again convicted.

McGirt spoke in the courtroom for about 15 minutes on Wednesday, but never took responsibility for his crimes or apologized to the victim.

The victim also spoke in court on Wednesday and was emotional, saying she was tired of hearing his name. She said the Supreme Court ruling brought back nightmares since she was due to stand trial again.

Acting US attorney Christopher Wilson said the court made the right decision.

McGirt is a repeat offender, having been convicted of sexually assaulting little boys in the 1980s.

“This is truly a historic case, but today’s conviction has nothing to do with Mr. McGirt’s success in challenging the jurisdiction of the state of Oklahoma,” Wilson said.

McGirt’s attorney said they plan to appeal.


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