Montana Innocence Project virtual panel to discuss criminal, racial justice implications of recent Supreme Court decisions

The Montana Innocence Project will host a virtual panel on Friday, June 15 from noon – 1 p.m. MST to discuss the implications of Shinn v. Ramirez, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta on criminal and racial justice. The panel will be moderated by MTIP Executive Director Amy Sings In The Timber and feature MTIP Board Members and criminal defense attorneys Caitlin Boland Aarab, Andrew Huff, and Colin Stephens.

Shinn, decided on May 23, prohibits innocent people from presenting evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel, a leading cause of wrongful conviction, in federal courts unless it was first presented in state courts. This decision will leave thousands of innocent people with no court to review the evidence that could exonerate them of crimes they did not commit.

Dobbs, decided on June 24, overturned Roe v. Wade, which eliminates the constitutional right to an abortion. This decision will lead to prosecutions of medical practitioners who perform abortions in states where it is outlawed and further limits abortion access in jails and prisons.

Oklahoma, decided June 29, gives the federal government and the state concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians in Indian Country. As Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese wrote for The Nation, “Without having to sign a treaty or fight a war, the Supreme Court handed the states presumptive power over Indian lands.” Justice Neil Gorsuch’s dissent warns that concurrent jurisdiction in Indian Country leads to fewer police, more crime, and high rates of violence against women and children.

The panel will specifically discuss how these decisions will impact wrongful and unjust conviction work in addition to broader criminal legal implications for tribes, women, and the wrongfully convicted. We ask you to stay muted during the discussion, but questions in the chat are encouraged!

Zoom Meeting Link:

Zoom Meeting ID: 968 5731 7724