Tribal Court

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Tribal Court

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Presently, there are three active Associate Judges: Lisa Otipoby-Herbert, Michael Belanger, and Juan Garcia. Court dockets are held on a weekly basis by case type: civil, divorce, guardianship, juvenile, criminal, and delinquency. Mrs. Edwina Whitman serves as the Court Clerk of the Trial Court and Ms. Desirae Barnes serves as the Deputy Court Clerk of the Trial Court. For more information please contact Mrs. Edwina Whiteman at (405) 422-7558 or ewhiteman@c-a-tribes.org or Ms. Desirae Barnes at (405) 422-7450 or dbarnes@c-a-tribes.org.

Before, 1934, the Tribes utilized their own system of settling disputes. The offending family surrendering a material object, such as horses to the victimized family. Violent offenses involving murder often resulted in expulsion from the Tribes. Records indicate that as of 1979 the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes began emulating modern-day Western-style court systems in compliance with the Federal Offenses Court. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes administer their own District Trial Court, through a P.L. 93-638 contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and have done so since 1988.

Mission Statement

We are an independent branch of government constitutionally entrusted with the fair and just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and Law and Order Code of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.

Constitution

The Trial Court is comprised of one Chief Judge, one Associate Judge, and other Associate Judges as deemed necessary by the Legislature by law. The Chief Judge of the Trial Court serves a four-year term of Office. The Associate Judge of the Trail Court serves a four-year term of office. Any other Associate Judges of the Tribal Court serves a four-year term of office.

The Trial Court has original jurisdiction over all cases and controversies, both criminal and civil, in law or in equity, arising under the Constitution, laws, and customs of the Tribes, including cases in which the Tribes or its officials and employees are a party. Any such case or controversy arising within the jurisdiction of the Tribes are to be filed in the Tribal Court before it is filed in any other court. This grant of jurisdiction shall not be construed to be a waiver of the Sovereign Immunity of the Tribes.

The Trial Court has the power to make findings of fact, to interpret the Constitution and laws of the Tribes, and to make conclusions of law. The Trial Court has the power to issue all remedies in law and in equity. The Trial Court has the power to declare the laws of the Tribes void if such laws are not in agreement with this Constitution.

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