MUSKOGEE — Jimcy McGirt, 72, the man whose landmark case upended Oklahoma’s legal system, was sentenced to three life sentences by a federal judge on Wednesday.
In his sentencing, Judge John F. Heill III called McGirt a sexual predator who represented a continued risk to young children if he was released. Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Wilson said McGirt would spend the rest of his life in prison and would not be eligible for parole.
McGirt was convicted by a state court in 1996 on three felony charges of sexually abusing a four-year-old girl. His state convictions were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last July in a ruling that established that a significant swath of eastern Oklahoma remains American Indian land for certain legal purposes.
In a 5-4 decision, the country’s highest court ruled that Congress never “disestablished” the 1866 boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which encompasses three million acres and includes most of the city of Tulsa. The ruling, which reaffirms that the land promised to the tribe by treaty remains rightfully theirs, meant that American Indians involved in crimes on the Muscogee Nation’s reservation had to be tried in either federal or Tribal court.
Earlier this month, the state of Oklahoma filed a brief to ask the Supreme Court to narrow or overturn its decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma. State officials said the McGirt decision and a separate lower-court decision had affected the state’s ability to prosecute crimes committed on reservations by non-Natives.
McGirt’s victim spoke on Wednesday about the lasting damage that she had suffered as a result of McGirt’s crimes against her, according to a local TV report.
"People like Jimcy McGirt deserve to be put away forever because what he did to me … is going to live with me the rest of my life," she said.
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