Judith M. Stinson, Tara Mospan, and Marnie Hodahkwen have posted “Trusting Tribal Courts: More Lawyers is Not Always the Answer” on SSRN. The paper is forthcoming in the Law Journal for Social Justice at ASU.
Many outsiders distrust tribal courts because they assume they will be treated unfairly. This distrust creates a number of problems, including decreasing the effectiveness of tribal judicial systems, inhibiting tribal economic development, and ultimately undermining tribal sovereignty. Critics of tribal courts assert three main justifications for their structural skepticism: first, that tribal courts are “different” from other court systems in the United States; second, that tribal laws and traditions seem foreign and may be difficult to access; and third, that because the qualifications for judges and practitioners in tribal courts sometimes differ from those in other courts, tribal judges and advocates are inferior. Drawing on other scholarship, this article briefly responds to the first two criticisms. This paper then argues that non-lawyer judges and lay advocates can be as effective as law-trained judges and advocates in other court systems. Although it is impossible to eliminate all outsider bias, refuting the claimed justifications should demonstrate that tribal courts are as fair and as competent as non-tribal courts. Therefore, greater confidence in tribal courts is warranted.
Judge Bradley Letts has published “The Cherokee Tribal Court: Its Origins and Its Place in the
American Judicial System” in the Campbell Law Review.
From the inimitable Judge Voluck:
The recent St. Paul Island project – Tanaam Awaa: ‘Our Community’s Work’ Trauma-Informed Benchbook for Tribal Justice Systems is better in hand … with that said the Tribe has produced a digital version for free download on their Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government website.
Now he says “Free” but go ahead and donate some dollars if you can to keep up this good work.
From High Country News, here.
Keep an eye out for this awesome guy on Alaska flights, and if you’re very lucky, he’ll make you a meme.
Here is the order. The amendment:
(d) Communication Between Superior Court of Any County of this State and Indian Tribal Court.
(1) A superior court of any county of this state may communicate with any Indian tribal court concerning co-occurring proceedings, whether they are active or have been concluded. The parties shall provide to the respective courts the identity, contact information, and a case or docket number of the other court’s proceedings to facilitate this communication.
(2) The superior court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able or allowed to participate in the communication, they shall be given an opportunity to present facts and legal arguments in writing before a decision is made regarding the communication, or the subject of communication, by the superior court. The Indian tribal court‘s procedures and customs shall determine the parties’ participation in the Indian tribal court proceedings.
(3) The superior court shall make a record of a communication made pursuant to this section. The parties shall be informed promptly of the communication by the superior court and granted access to the record. The Indian tribal court‘s procedures shall determine whether and how a record is made in Indian tribal court proceedings, and whether and how parties may be informed of the communication or granted access to a record of the communication.
(4) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, communication between the superior court and the Indian tribal court regarding scheduling, administrative or emergency purposes, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. The superior court need not make a record of the communication under this section. The Indian tribal court‘s procedures shall determine whether and how a record is made in Indian tribal court proceedings of such communication.
(5) For the purposes of this section, “record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
(6) The superior court shall follow the procedures set forth in subsection (3) of this section when communicating regarding adult criminal matters, except as otherwise authorized by law. The Indian tribal court‘s procedures shall determine the requirements for communication regarding adult criminal matters in Indian tribal court proceedings. Superior courts and Indian tribal courts may communicate about the orders prohibiting contact as set forth in subsections (1) – (5) above.