Tribal Judge Profiles in The Federal Lawyer

Lauryn Boston’s profile of Judge Mark Pouley is here.

Schuyler Tilson’s profile of Judge Mary Jo Hunter is here.

And my profile of Judge Ron Whitener is here.

California ICWA Task Force Information and Survey

Recently the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Children’s Justice, established an ICWA compliance task force with a goal of examining ICWA non-compliance in California.  In support of this effort tribal leaders have come together to provide information to assist the California DOJ in looking at ICWA compliance issues, including cases involving non-California tribes.  This project is an opportunity for all tribes to provide feedback on these important issues.

Letter to tribal leaders from task force co-chairs.

Letter to tribal leaders from California AG.

There is both a call (details in first letter) and a survey is for any tribe with children in the California system, not just California tribes. Survey is here and is due by January 15.

Questions can be directed to Delia Parr at CILS,



Beth Kronk on Judicial Ethics

From ICT via Pechanga:

MAYETTA, Kan. – Appearances are everything in small communities. This is especially true in Indian country, where close family, social and work relationships may appear to compromise the integrity of tribal judicial systems.

Elizabeth A. Kronk, assistant professor of law at theUniversity of Montana School of Law, urges tribes to adopt a code of ethics for their tribal justices and elected officers, not only as an exercise in sovereignty, but also to avoid even the perception of impropriety.

“Our communities are small, and we know everybody,” said Kronk, who spoke on ethical considerations for tribal courts, practice and governance at the 10th Annual Native Nations Law Symposium, Feb. 12, at Prairie Band Casino & Resort on the Potawatomi reservation.

Kronk presented excerpts from the National Tribal Judicial Center’s Sample Code of Judicial Conduct and theABA’s 2007 Model Code of Judicial Conduct to discuss the appearance of impropriety, the definition of who a judge is, disqualification, extrajudicial activities, ex parte communication, and the integrity and independence of the tribal judiciary.

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28 U.S.C. 1362 Doesn’t Waive Tribal Sovereign Immunity

Well, someone was bound to try it. 🙂

Turner v. McGee (N.D. Okla.)

An excerpt:

Petitioner, a member of the Kiowa Tribe, has brought this pro se action seeking injunctive relief against four administrative law judges employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Respondents as administrative law judges preside over cases brought before the Court of Indian Offenses for the Kiowa Tribe. Petitioner seeks injunctive relief relative to decisions rendered by respondents while acting in their official capacities as administrative law judges.
Indian tribal governments, such as the Kiowa Tribe, enjoy immunity from suit the same as any other sovereign power. Tribal governments are subject to suit only where suit has been expressly authorized by Congress or the tribe has waived its immunity. * * *

WSJ Article on Tribal Judges

Thanks to Mike McBride and June Mamagona Fletcher, you can download the entire article here without having to register with the Journal:

Wall Street Journal Article on Tribal Judges and Federal Indian Law