Five additional federal judges requested to handle increased post-McGirt caseload in Oklahoma
The Judicial Conference of the United States is requesting five additional judges for Oklahoma’s federal court to handle the increased caseload created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt v. Oklahoma decision last year.
The court found that state courts no longer had jurisdiction to hear some cases in which crimes were committed by or against Native Americans in much of Eastern Oklahoma, and these cases now must be heard in tribal or federal courts.
U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan, chair of the executive committee of the Judicial Conference, says they are handling the backlog from the McGirt decision and the pandemic by prioritizing cases in which the accused has been in jail for the longest time.
District courts plan to send out a national request for federal judges willing to come to Oklahoma temporarily and try cases.
Currently, legislation is pending in the U.S. Senate to expand the judiciary.