A national organization that protects victim's rights is now focused on the Sooner State after the Supreme Court Ruling on Tribal Jurisdiction McGirt v. Oklahoma.
Voters in Oklahoma passed Marsy's Law in 2018, which gave victims more rights during the court process. The state director of Marsy's Law, Kim Moyer, says with the recent ruling affecting hundreds of cases, their mission of helping victims is more important than ever.
"When people who are victims are victims of crime they're terrified of the alleged perpetrator is being released. When the ruling came down, it had to of been scary, confusing and some anger involved for those victims," Moyer told News on 6.
Moyer says when she heard of the Supreme Court's tribal jurisdiction in July, her first thought was of the thousands of victims she's helped through the years. Moyer says she knows the hardest part about the ruling is having to relive trials and victims or victims' families having to see their alleged offenders again.
"There were so many thoughts running through my mind the system was could possibly crumbling around them and there’s nothing they could do about it," Moyer added.
Marsy's Law says families have the right to be notified of major proceedings in their case, like when a suspect is released on bond. It also allows victims and families to give input to the DA on plea deals.
Moyer recently wrote a letter to state and federal prosecutors that says with the recent ruling, it's more important than ever to keep victims informed. "No matter what jurisdiction they are looking at navigating, everybody in our state deserves that support," said Moyer.
Shannon Buchanan with the Creek Nation's Family Violence Prevention says the nation is partnering with Marsy's Law and realizes the need to fill any gaps necessary with the new system.
"We’re dismissing these cases and letting defenders out of jail and not giving the other jurisdiction time to get the case or do anything, which puts victims at risk, and this is a huge concern," Buchanan explained. "So I feel like having an advocacy group like Marsy's law could definitely benefit advocating to make sure there is a better process and the dismissal of transferred to the jurisdiction of crimes especially victim safety can be put at risk," Buchanan said.
Moyer has also met with the Cherokee Nation and says the ruling could become a national issue.
"We are talking about hundreds of thousands of crime victims across the country who have been impacted by this ruling if other tribes actually decide to make jurisdictional changes like that," Moyer explained.
Moyer says her team is also creating a victims rights advisory board and will have three people focusing on tribal law.