Legal Aid of Nebraska Seeking DV Attorney for Native American Victims


Attention – Attorney Position Open

Legal Aid of Nebraska, a law firm providing free civil legal services to low-income persons, seeks an attorney to serve Native American victims of domestic violence in Western Nebraska.  Must be admitted to practice in Nebraska or have a Nebraska license pending, and be licensed or willing to become licensed in the Ponca, Winnebago, Omaha and Santee Tribal Courts. This position entails extensive travel throughout panhandle and Cherry counties.  Duties will include but will not be limited to: provide assistance to members of the Omaha, Ponca, Santee, and Winnebago and to other Native Americans who are victims of domestic violence primarily residing in the panhandle and Cherry counties. This position entails providing training to law enforcement; making community presentations;  conducting outreach to Native American victims of domestic violence; developing culturally appropriate materials providing legal information and information about Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Native American Project and domestic violence; fostering relationships with the Tribes, tribal members, domestic violence agencies and other service providers. The attorney in this position also provides quality and aggressive representation of low-income Native American domestic violence victims who are clients of LAN primarily in state court, and, engages in the day-to-day practice of law according to the priorities and practices set by Legal Aid of Nebraska.  Ideal candidate will possess expertise in the area of domestic violence and demonstrate skill in tribal court practice or connection to Native American issues.  This is a full-time position requiring a committed individual. Company cell phone and laptop will be provided.  Location in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Legal Aid of Nebraska offers excellent supervision, training and support, and state-of-the-art technology.  Loan assistance repayment may be available assuming eligibility for Legal Aid’s repayment program.  Experience-based competitive salary.  Excellent benefits package.  Please send resume, references, writing sample and cover letter via email to: Muirne Heaney, Legal Aid of Nebraska, Interim Director of Litigation and Advocacy, at  EOE.  Position open until filled.

Annette Farnan
Interim Executive Director

Tribal Justice Frank Pommersheim Goes Digital: 25 Years as a Tribal Judge

Here (PDF):

Opening page for lib guide w pic

California v. Miami Nation Enterprises: California SCT Materials (So Far)


California Petition for Review

Public Justice Amicus Brief in Support of Petition

MNE Answer to Petition

California Petition Stage Reply

California Opening Merits Brief

MNE Merits Brief

California Reply

California Supplemental Brief

Lower court materials here.


California COA Affirms Immunity of Tribally-Owned Payday Lenders

Here are the materials in People of the State of California v. MNE:


California Opening Brief

MNE Brief

California Reply Brief

An excerpt from the opinion:

Applying the arm-of-the-tribe analysis as we directed in Ameriloan v. Superior Court (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 81 (Ameriloan), the trial court dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction this action by the Commissioner of the California Department of Corporations against five “payday loan” businesses owned by Miami Nation Enterprises (MNE), the economic development authority of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a federally recognized Indian tribe, and SFS, Inc., a corporation wholly owned by the Santee Sioux Nation, also a federally recognized Indian tribe. Because the two tribal entities and their cash-advance and short-term-loan businesses are sufficiently related to their respective Indian tribes to be protected from this state enforcement action under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity, we affirm.

A second related opinion from the same court:


An excerpt:

The Commissioner of the California Department of Corporations (Commissioner),1 on behalf of the People of the State of California, sued Ameriloan, United Cash Loans, US Fast Cash, Preferred Cash and One Click Cash for injunctive relief, restitution and civil penalties, alleging they were providing short-term, payday loans over the Internet to California residents in violation of several provisions of the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law (DDTL) (Fin. Code, § 2300 et seq.). Miami Nation Enterprises (MNE), the economic development authority of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, a federally recognized Indian tribe, and SFS, Inc., a corporation wholly owned by the Santee Sioux Nation, also a federally recognized Indian tribe, specially appeared and moved to quash service of summons and to dismiss the complaint on the ground the lending businesses named as defendants were simply trade names used by the two tribal entities and, as wholly owned and controlled entities of their respective tribes operating on behalf of the tribes, they were protected from this state enforcement action under the doctrine of tribal sovereign immunity.

During the course of this litigation on the issue of subject matter jurisdiction, the trial court imposed $34,437.50 in discovery sanctions against the Commissioner after the court denied in substantial part her motion to compel further responses to a second set of requests for production of documents from MNE and SFS. We affirm.

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.


Colorado COA Dismisses Colorado AG’s Appeal of Cash Advance Matter


Colorado v Cash Advance Colo. COA Opinion

Lower court opinion here.

Trip to Santee Sioux Nation Reservation

I visited the Santee Sioux Nation Reservation for the Nation Supreme Court’s first oral argument yesterday.

Here is the court: Amanda WhiteEagle (Ho-Chunk Nation); Terri Mason Moore (Osage Nation); Andrew Adams III (Muscogee Nation); John LaVelle (Santee Sioux Nation); and me (GTB)

Santee Supreme Court

Sunrise at the Ohiya Casino (negative 2 degrees Fahrenheit): Continue reading

Colorado Trial Court Quashes Subpoenas and Vacates Bench Warrants in Cash Advance Remand

Here is that opinion:


Here is the Colorado Supreme Court decision remanding the case back to the trial court.

Briefing in StoreVisions v. Omaha Tribe — Petition for Rehearing Pending in Nebraska Supreme Court — UPDATED

Here is the Nebraska Supreme Court’s opinion.

And the materials we have so far:

Omaha Tribe Appellant Brief

Storevisions Appellee Brief

Omaha Tribe Reply Brief

2011-04-04 Omaha Tribe Motion for Rehearing

Storevisions Response to Motion for Rehearing.

2011-04-25 Amici Curiae Brief inSupport of Def-appellant Omaha

Colorado Supreme Court Largely Affirms Tribal Immunity in Cash Advance Decision

Here is the opinion. Briefs are here and here.

And here is the Court’s syllabus:

In this tribal sovereign immunity case, the Colorado Supreme Court affirms the court of appeals’ decision to remand the case to the trial court to determine whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans act as arms of the Miami Nation of Oklahoma and the Santee Sioux Nation, respectively, such that their activities are properly deemed to be those of the tribes. As an initial matter, the court holds that tribal sovereign immunity applies to judicial enforcement of state investigatory actions, including this state investigative subpoena enforcement action. Because the trial court arrived at a contrary conclusion, a remand is necessary to determine whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are arms of their respective tribes such that their activities are properly deemed to be those of the tribes.

In determining whether Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are arms of their respective tribes, the trial court shall consider the following three factors: (1) whether the tribes created the entities pursuant to tribal law; (2) whether the tribes own and operate the entities; and (3) whether the entities’ immunity protects the tribes’ sovereignty. The state bears the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Cash Advance and Preferred Cash Loans are not entitled to tribal sovereign immunity.

Additionally, the supreme court disagrees with the court of appeals’ determination that tribal sovereign immunity does not extend to tribal officers engaged in conduct allegedly violating state law. Instead, the appropriate determination with respect to individual tribal officers is whether they acted within the scope of their lawful authority, as defined by the tribe and limited only by federal law.The supreme court further disagrees with the court of appeals’ to the extent it would recognize a waiver of sovereign immunity that is not explicit and unequivocal. The court of appeals directed the trial court to look for a waiver of tribal sovereign immunity in a broad range of sources, including a contractual arbitration clause between Cash Advance or Preferred Cash Loans and Colorado customers. The court, however, finds it unlikely that an explicit and unequivocal waiver of tribal sovereign immunity would be found in such an arbitration clause.

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