Fletcher Paper on “Tribal Justice Systems”

I drafted a paper titled “Tribal Justice Systems” for the Allegheny College Undergraduate Conference “Democracy Realized? The Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement” and posted it on SSRN. You can download here.

Here is the abstract:

This short paper is produced for the Allegheny College conference Democracy Realized? The Legacies of the Civil Rights Movement (March 28-29, 2014).

United States Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, authored the Court’s opinion in Williams v. Lee, a decision hailed as the opening salvo in the modern era of federal Indian law. The Williams decision was the work of the liberal wing of the Court, with important input by Chief Justice Warren and Justices Brennan and Douglas. Williams, a ringing endorsement of inherent tribal governance authority, more specifically endorsed tribal justices systems as embodied in tribal courts. Without Williams and similar cases, it is unlikely that tribal governments and Congress would act to develop tribal justice systems. Williams, and the tribal courts that arose as a result, was a powerful civil rights decision that commentators rightfully have linked to Brown v. Board of Education.

This paper will survey several tribal justice systems in an effort to identify commonalities and complexities. There are hundreds of tribal justice systems in the United States; each of them unique in the details, but many of them similar to other tribal, state, and federal courts.

The paper is divided into three sections. The first two parts include a section on adversarial tribal justice systems and a section on non-adversarial tribal justice systems, often called restorative justice systems. The third part involves greater discussion of the complexities of incorporating tribal customary and traditional law into tribal common law.

In case one wonders, “Representing Justice” by Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis influenced the paper.

 

Michigan COA Issues First “Conditional Reversal” in ICWA Notice Case

Here:

In re Grochowalski

The Michigan SCT decision instructing lower courts on ICWA notice violations and adopting the “conditional reversal” requirement is here.

Michigan Court of Appeals Upholds Termination of Indian Parent’s Rights

Here is the opinion in In re Miller.

An excerpt:

Respondent was a member of an Indian tribe, and before termination of her parental rights could be ordered, the court was required to find evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that continued custody of the child by respondent was likely to result in serious emotional or physical harm to the child under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC 1912(f). Expert testimony was presented that respondent’s conduct violated the norms and customs of the Chippewa Tribe and that continued custody was likely to result in serious emotional harm to the child. Accordingly, the court did not clearly err in finding that termination was in the best interest of the child.

Greektown Reorganization Plan Approved; Sault Tribe Out

From the Detroit News:

A plan approved Friday to lead Greektown Casino out of bankruptcy protection will repay most creditors and strip ownership from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Judge Walter Shapero of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit confirmed the plan, pending state and city approvals on other issues that must be obtained by June 30. The plan, the third proposal since Greektown filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2008, was approved by creditors last week.

“Greektown Casino is now approaching the finish line for its exit from bankruptcy,” said Charles Moore, the casino’s lead restructuring adviser with Conway MacKenzie Inc. in Birmingham.

Written Testimony in SCIA Hearing on Trust Land Acquisition Delays

From SCIA:

Panel 1
MR. GEORGE SKIBINE
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Accompanied by: MS. VICKI FORREST, Deputy Bureau Director for Trust
Services, Ll.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Panel 2
MR. CARL J. ARTMAN
Esquire, Professor of Practice, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

THE HONORABLE DEREK BAILEY
Chairman, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Ind ians, Peshawbestown, Michigan

SCIA Hearing on Trust Acquisitions — Witness List

From the SCIA (there might be a typo down there… 🙂):

Panel 1
MR. GEORGE SKIBINE
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Accompanied by: MS. VICKI FORREST, Deputy Bureau Director for Trust
Services, Ll.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

Panel 2
THE HONORABLE CARL J. ARTMAN
Updated: Esquire, Professor of Practice, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

THE HONORABLE DEREK BAILEY
Chairman, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Ind ians, Peshawbestown, Michigan

Second Greektown Reorganization Plan to Be Considered

From the Freep via Pechanga:

A second plan to speed Greektown Casino’s exit from bankruptcy protection could go out to creditors for a vote next week.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Walter Shapero told lawyers for the casino and its creditors Friday that he expected to sign an order Monday to approve the disclosure statement. That would clear the way for the plan to be sent out next Friday for creditor voting.

The confirmation hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12. The goal is for plan confirmation by Jan. 31 and for the casino to emerge from bankruptcy by June 30.

Greektown Casino still needs to get the City of Detroit’s approval before it can approach state regulators for a 15% tax rollback.

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News Coverage on Criminal Charges in U.P. Illegal Gillnetting Case

From the Escanaba Daily Press:

ESCANABA – Sentences will be handed down within the next six weeks for two men arrested in connection with illegal gill netting on Big Bay de Noc earlier this month, according to Delta County District Court officials.

Kerry Todd Johnson, 27, Cooks, and Daryl John Tatrow, 48, Garden, each pleaded no contest to a charge of using illegal fishing devices. The misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of 90 days in jail, $1,000 fine, and revocation of one’s fishing license for three years.

Tatrow, who appeared in district court Wednesday, also pleaded no contest to one count of attempted assaulting/resisting/obstructing a law enforcement officer for fleeing during his arrest. The charge carries a maximum sentencing of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced in district court on Dec. 21. Tatrow will be sentenced on Jan. 4.

A third man arrested in connection with the alleged illegal gill-netting operation, will be charged in the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Court for subsistence fishing without a license, according to officials from the Department of Natural Resources. His name was unavailable.

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Jaime Barrientoz on a Part-Time GTB Council

From Indianz:

A member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians says the tribal council should only serve part time.

Jaime Barrientoz thinks the chairman position should remain a full-time job. But the other six members of the council are wasting time and money, he says.

“I think that they have too much time on their hands,” Barrientoz told The Traverse City Record-Eagle. “Put them back to part time and you’d save about $1 million a year.”

Barrientoz served on the council when it was a part-time job. Full-time status started in 1998.

Get the Story:

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Greektown Hearings to Begin

From the Freep:

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Walter Shapero has scheduled four days of hearing time during which the plan’s proponents and objectors are to call more than 20 witnesses and present 539 exhibits to prove their cases, according to a procedural order filed with the court.

At dispute is how Greektown Casino, the smallest by revenue of Detroit’s three casinos, was valued. The higher the value, the more creditors have to share. As it stands now, the pre-petition lenders, led by Merrill Lynch Capital Corp., put the value at $540 million and would own the casino after it emerges from bankruptcy.

Negotiations were ongoing over the weekend to deal with a potential wrinkle after the attorney for one creditor said he might offer a competing plan for reorganization. This plan would ensure bondholders, owed about $185 million, would get something out of the process.

“All of the parties continue to negotiate,” said Chuck Moore, a turnaround expert for the casino’s estate. “At this point, there is no plan other than to move forward with the confirmation hearings.”

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