“This is a major victory for the State of Oklahoma,” said Attorney General John O’Connor today in a media release.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously made that decision in Parish v. Oklahoma. Today, the United States Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of that decision by Parish.
Clifton Parish was convicted of second-degree murder in the 2010 beating and shooting death of Robert Strickland in Hugo, Oklahoma. Parish sought to have the United States Supreme Court throw out his conviction, arguing that McGirt is retroactive.
His conviction is one of many convictions 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,” said Attorney General O’Connor. “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,” said General O’Connor.
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,” said General O’Connor.