Frontline prosecutors have seen a triple-digit percentage increase in case numbers, Shore said, leading to the hiring of additional federal prosecutors and the borrowing of others from offices across the country.
Since July, the US Attorney’s Office in Tulsa has received more than 750 law enforcement referrals in addition to their normal McGirt case load, which they normally handled, a number Shores calls “staggering.”
“That decision is here to stay,” Shores said. “We are now looking at the likelihood that other tribes will have their reservations recognized as unresolved as well.”
If this happens, as many believe, “it will change the jurisdiction structure of eastern Oklahoma, shifting (criminal) responsibility from the state to the United States and the tribes,” Shores said.
To cope with the new normal, it is important that both federal and tribal governments build capacity in their respective judicial systems to cope with the increased case numbers, Shores said.
“If that didn’t happen, I would expect that there would be some kind of legislative solution to be considered,” Shores said, although he refused to speculate further.
Shores, a member of the Choctaw Nation, is also proud of his work on the Presidential Task Force on Missing and Murdered Alaskan Indians and Natives.