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Oklahoma man at center of landmark tribal sovereignty case to be released from prison

The second gate of Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Okla. Various signs with warnings hang from the chain link gate.
Wesley Fryer
Gate number 2 of Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Okla.

Jimcy McGirt, the man behind the landmark McGirt v Oklahoma decision, is expected to be released soon on probation.

In 2020, the Supreme Court heard a case that decided if tribes reserved the right over the state to prosecute crimes committed on tribal lands. The court upheld the sovereignty of the Native nations and recalibrated how Oklahoma’s justice system operated.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Jimcy McGirt

The man behind the case was Seminole Nation member Jimcy McGirt, who had been convicted of multiple sex crimes against a child in the Muscogee Nation in state court.

The Supreme Court ruled he should’ve been tried in federal court because the Muscogee Nation was never disestablished.

After the ruling, McGirt was sentenced to life in prison by federal authorities in 2021, but after an appeal and plea bargain in 2023, he was sentenced to 30 years.

On Thursday, a judge gave McGirt credit for time already served, and as a result, he’s expected to be released from prison soon.

McGirt’s attorney says his client will register as a sex offender and will move to a rural location he declined to name. McGirt is currently being held at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing.

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Katie Hallum covers Indigenous Affairs at KOSU.
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