Officials offer few solutions as alleged rapist is freed
Due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively reestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s tribal reservation in Oklahoma, an alleged serial rapist may never face trial. It’s the latest ripple effect of the court’s decision, which has upended longstanding police powers across eastern Oklahoma.
Leroy Jemol Smith, 50, is accused of several rapes that occurred between January 20, 1993, and October 3, 1995. Smith was arrested after DNA evidence identified him as a suspect in 2020.
In its ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the U.S. Supreme Court found that certain major crimes involving American Indians on tribal land in Oklahoma must be prosecuted in federal, not state, court. The decision directly affected land held by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, but is expected to equally apply to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole nations. The cumulative effect of the ruling could impact nearly half the state of Oklahoma, where 1.8 million people reside, including the city of Tulsa, and is expected to apply to issues beyond law enforcement, such as taxation and business regulation.
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