Guest Post by Frank Pommersheim on the Retirement of Judge Sherman Marshall


Sherman Marshall, Chief Judge of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court, recently retired after more than 35 years as the heart and soul of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court system. Judge Marshall was born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. He is a fluent Lakota speaker and deeply steeped in Lakota tradition and custom. Sherman received his Associate of Arts degree from Sinte Gleska University and also was the first recipient of a Bachelor of Selected Studies from Sinte Gleska University. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law and a long time member the South Dakota Bar Association. Upon graduation from USD Law, Sherman was admitted to practice and returned home to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. After serving as an administrator at Sinte Gleska University for several years, he joined the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court as the Chief Judge, a position he has held since 1986. It is likely that Judge Marshall is one of longest serving judges on any tribal court in Indian Country.

It is difficult to fully understand and comprehend how much Sherman was able to accomplish during his long tenure on the bench. Early in his judicial career, Judge Marshall decided that it was incumbent upon him and his staff to visit all 20 tribal communities on the Reservation to describe the judicial system to community members and equally important, to receive input (including criticism) from community members. Over time, these efforts did much to enhance and increase community respect for the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court system. Judge Marshall was also instrumental in helping to establish the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Bar Examination, as a necessary prerequisite for practice in the tribal courts of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Rosebud is the only tribe in South Dakota and one of the few anywhere in Indian country that prepares and administers its own Bar Examination. Closely related to the implementation of its own Bar Examination, Sherman was a key figure in establishing Sicangu Oyate Tribal Bar Association, one of the very few functioning tribal bar associations that exists in Indian Country. The Sicangu Oyate Tribal Bar Association, which includes both law trained and non-law trained tribal advocates has served to help create and identify a community of practitioners who are committed to practicing in tribal court with integrity and a commitment to fairness and due process.

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Eighth Circuit Affirms Major Crimes Act Conviction over Dissent on Right to Counsel in Tribal Court (Rosebud Sioux)

Here are the materials in United States v. Long:


Long Brief

US Brief


An excerpt from the dissent:

A misdemeanant like Michael Long is forbidden to possess a firearm only if he was “represented by counsel in the case” in which he sustained the misdemeanor conviction, or if he “waived the right to counsel in the case.” 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33)(B)(i)(I). It is undisputed that Long did not waive the right to counsel and that he was not represented by a lawyer in the case. The court concludes, however, that because Long was represented in the case by a nonlawyer, dubbed a “lay counsel” by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, he was “represented by counsel in the case.” I believe that this conclusion is inconsistent with the meaning of the word “counsel” in the statute, so I would reverse Long’s conviction for possession of a firearm as a prohibited person.

Federal Court Dismisses D.V. Offender’s Challenge to Revocation of Probation for Violation of Tribal Court Exclusion Order…With Concerns

Here are the materials in United States v. Nichols (D. S.D.):

44 Nichols Motion to Dismiss

45 US Response

49 DCT Order Denying Motion to Dismiss

An excerpt:

Steven Nichols, a non-Indian, was excluded from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. While his exclusion was in effect, he was seen driving on a public road within the reservation. Tribal officers stopped and detained him until an FBI agent arrived. The agent then arrested him for criminal trespass. Nichols claims that the tribe did not have the authority to ban him from using the road and that his federal trespass charge — built upon a tribal writ and order of exclusion — should be dismissed. Because (1) there exists latent factual issues that require an evidentiary foundation, (2)there has been no exhaustion of tribal remedies or any showing that some exception to the exhaustion prescription applies, and (3) there is no ambiguity in the language of the revocation petition as amended, Nichols’s dismissal motion must be denied, but without prejudice.

Eighth Circuit Briefs in Tribal Court Jurisdiction Appeal from Rosebud Sioux

Here are the briefs in Columbe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe:

Columbe Opening Brief

RST Answer Brief

Columbe Reply Brief

Lower court materials here.

Update in Columbe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe: Tribal Court Has Jurisdiction to Rule on Gaming Management Contract

Here are the materials in Columbe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe (D. S.D.):

DCT Order Granting RST Motion

Columbe Motion for Summary J

RST Cross Motion for Summary J

Columbe Response

An excerpt:

Colombe now asks this Court to rule on the sole remaining issue from this Court’s September 23, 2011 Opinion and Order: Whether the Tribal Court had jurisdiction to hold that the oral modification to the NIGC-approved management contract was void. Colombe argues that the NIGC has the sole, exclusive authority to determine whether modifications to NIGC-approved management contracts can have any legal effect. Doc. 49 at 6-7. Colombe also argues that Defendants’ Tribal Court suit is prohibited because IGRA does not authorize a private cause of action. Doc. 49 at 8. Defendants counter that the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Supreme Court had jurisdiction to rule on the legal validity of the oral, unapproved modification to the approved management contract after Colombe raised the modification as a defense in the Tribe’s underlying contract suit. Doc. 59; Doc. 60. Defendants also assert that its Tribal Court suit is not for a “claimed IGRA violation” and therefore does not need to be authorized by the IGRA. Doc. 57 at 19.

Here are the materials on the Sept. 2011 order, and on the motion for reconsideration.



Update in Columbe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court (Suit re Tribal Court Jurisdiction over Nonmember)

Here are the materials in the denial of Columbe’s motions for reconsideration and to hold a trial for a permanent injunction (prior post here, with opinion dismissing plaintiff’s claims):

Columbe Motion for Reconsideration

RST Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration

Columbe Motion for Permanent Injunction

RST Opposition to Motion for Permanent Injunction

DCT Order Denying Motion for Reconsideration

Earliest post here.

Update in Columbe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe

The court has dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that were not appealed to the tribal appellate court for failure to exhaust tribal remedies. Other claims remain extant due to a waiver of immunity.

Here are the materials:

DCT Granting Motion to Dismiss in Part

RST Supplemental Memorandum

RST 2d Supplemental Memorandum

Columbe Affidavit

Prior materials are here.


Parties Ordered to Produce Contract Provision that Will Determine Whether Rosebud Sioux Tribe Waived Immunity in Federal Court

Here are the materials in Colombe v. Rosebud Sioux Tribe (D. S.D.), a convoluted case originating in tribal court on whether the tribal court can pierce the corporate veil of a former gaming management partner of the Tribe:

RST v. BBC Entertainment Tribal Court Order

Rosebud Motion to Dismiss

Colombe Opposition

Rosebud Reply

DCT Order in Colombe