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Prosecutors urge court to reject appeal 5-10-07

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The U.S. Department of Justice has urged the
U.S. Supreme Court to reject an appeal for a man who was convicted of
mutilating and killing a man on a rural McIntosh County road in 1999.

In the appeal, attorneys for Patrick D. Murphy claim that Murphy and
his victim, George Jacobs, were members of the Creek Nation, that the
crime took place on Creek land and that he should have been
prosecuted in federal court.

A state district court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals
already have rejected the argument, but federal prosecutors argued
against the idea, The Oklahoman reported from its Washington bureau.

According to Murphy's appeal, the land in question was American
Indian land because a small fraction of the mineral rights - but none
of the surface rights - was still in Indian control.

He also argued that if the fractional mineral right ownership doesn't
establish it as tribal land, the land is Indian country under the
federal definition of a reservation.

The state and federal government have operated for more than a
century on the understanding that the state has jurisdiction to
prosecute offenses committed by American Indians on non-Indian land
in eastern Oklahoma, the government said.

“Accepting (Murphy's) contrary view would call into question the
jurisdictional validity of numerous criminal convictions,” the
government argued.
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