US supports Keith Stitt’s appeal on tribal jurisdiction in speeding ticket dispute

The United States has recently filed an amicus brief in favor of Keith Stitt, brother of Governor Kevin Stitt, as he appeals a speeding ticket. The case revolves around the question of tribal jurisdiction and whether the tribal court or Tulsa’s Municipal Court should handle the citation.

Keith Stitt, who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, was issued a speeding ticket while on the Muscogee Nation Reservation. However, instead of being processed by a tribal court, the citation was directed to Tulsa’s Municipal Court. Stitt’s attorney, Brett Chapman, argued that the ticket should have been transferred to the Muscogee Nation court, which is the appropriate jurisdiction for this case. Despite attempts to challenge the jurisdiction and have the ticket transferred, those efforts were unsuccessful, leading to a direct criminal appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Chapman emphasized that the issue at hand transcends a simple traffic ticket and speaks to the broader significance of honoring tribal jurisdiction and indigenous nations’ legal authority. He clarified that Stitt is not seeking to evade responsibility based on race but rather highlighting the critical jurisdictional questions that pertain to indigenous nations.

Chapman further acknowledged that the implications of this case extend beyond Stitt’s individual situation. He noted that other jurisdictions, while perhaps not the City of Tulsa, are aligning with the principles established in the landmark McGirt Supreme Court decision. Consequently, these cases are being prosecuted to ensure there are no jurisdictional loopholes. Chapman’s statement implies that the outcome of Stitt’s appeal could have broader implications for similar cases arising in the region.

As the legal battle continues, the support of the United States through filing an amicus brief underscores the significance of clarifying jurisdictional boundaries and upholding the rights of indigenous nations. The case remains a focal point for addressing these jurisdictional concerns, which hold profound importance for tribal nations and their legal authority.

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