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Governor Stitt Reacts to Tenth Circuit Decision

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Today, Governor Kevin Stitt released the following statement expressing his disappointment with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Hooper v. City of Tulsa:

“I am extremely disappointed and disheartened by the decision made by the Tenth Circuit to undermine the City of Tulsa and the impact it would have on their ability to enforce laws within their municipality. However, I am not surprised as this is exactly what I have been warning Oklahomans about for the past three years. Citizens of Tulsa, if your city government cannot enforce something as simple as a traffic violation, there will be no rule of law in eastern Oklahoma. This is just the beginning. It is plain and simple, there cannot be a different set of rules for people solely based on race. I am hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will rectify this injustice, and the City of Tulsa can rest assured my office will continue to support them as we fight for equality for all Oklahomans, regardless of race or heritage.”

In 2018, Justin Hooper was ticketed for speeding in violation of the City of Tulsa’s municipal code. The municipal court found Mr. Hooper guilty and ordered him to pay a $150 fine, which he paid. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision, Mr. Hooper, a member of the Choctaw Nation, filed an appeal for post-conviction relief, arguing that Tulsa lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him for a violation of its local traffic code.

After the municipal court denied Mr. Hooper’s application for relief, Mr. Hooper filed a complaint in federal court. The City of Tulsa responded with a motion to dismiss, arguing that Tulsa had jurisdiction over Mr. Hooper’s traffic case pursuant to a federal statute that existed prior to the formation of the State of Oklahoma. The lower court agreed with Tulsa and granted the city’s motion to dismiss. Today, the Tenth Circuit reversed course, overturning the lower court’s decision and ordering the case remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.

Read the 10th Circuit’s Hooper v. Tulsa decision here.

Last Modified on Jun 28, 2023
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