High court to hear arguments again in Oklahoma murder case

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FILE – In this June 20, 2019 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen under stormy skies in Washington. Two issues that could determine the distribution of political power for the next decade await resolution on the Supreme Court’s final day of decisions before a long summer break. Chief Justice John Roberts could well be the author of decisions on both politically charged topics Thursday, June 27, whether to allow a citizenship question on the 2020 census and place limits on drawing electoral districts for partisan gain. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Thursday it will hear arguments a second time in a case involving an Oklahoma man who argued that the state had no right to prosecute him because he is a Native American and the crime occurred on land belonging to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

The justices announced they will hear a new round of arguments in the case of Patrick Murphy. The justices will begin hearing arguments again in October. Murphy was convicted of killing a fellow tribe member in 1999.

A federal appeals court found Oklahoma had no right to try him for a crime that was committed on American Indian land.

The justices did not explain their decision to hear a second round of arguments.

State Attorney General Mike Hunter has said the lower court’s ruling, if affirmed, would plunge eastern Oklahoma into “civil, criminal and regulatory turmoil.”

The Creek Nation’s original territory encompasses more than 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares), including most of what became the state’s second-largest city, Tulsa.

“This case has implications for millions of Oklahomans, both tribal and non-tribal citizens,” Hunter said in a statement Thursday.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation officials, however, say those concerns are overblown and maintain the tribe’s reservation boundaries were never disestablished by Congress.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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