Minnesota Chippewa Tribe - Leech Lake Band - Tribal Code
Title 1. Courts
Part III. Judges
The judiciary of the Tribal Court, Trial Division, shall consist of a Chief Judge and one or more associate judges.
The Reservation Tribal Council by resolution, or the Chief Judge by order, may appoint additional persons to serve as deputy judges or justices. Each such appointment of a deputy judge or justice shall be personal and shall not create an office which survives the death, resignation or removal of the appointee. The appointment of a deputy judge may be for the performance of such specific duties or cases as may be assigned him/her by the Chief Judge or by the Reservation Tribal Council, and she/he shall serve until the cases or duties specifically assigned have been completed, or pursuant to the terms of any contract.
A deputy judge shall perform the duties and functions of a judge of the Tribal Court as may be designated by his/her appointment or contract subject to any restrictions or limitations imposed by law, by resolution of the Reservation Tribal Council, or the Chief Judge, as the case may be. The findings, rulings, opinions and orders of a deputy judge or justice shall be signed “Judge” or “Justice”, as appropriate to the case and shall have the same force and effect as if made by a regular judge or justice of the Court.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 1, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 1
In any appeal from a final decision of a trial judge, whether chief, associate, or deputy, an appeals tribunal of three justices shall be constituted from the remaining judges of the Tribal Court with the appointment of one or more deputy justices to complete the panel. Such justices of an appeals tribunal so constituted shall serve until cases specially assigned them have been completed. A justice of an appeals tribunal may only be removed prior to completion of assigned matters by the RTC pursuant to the provisions of this Code for the removal of a judge of the Tribal Court, Section 10 of this chapter.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 2, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 2
1). Any person twenty-five (25) years or older shall be eligible to serve as a Judge of the Tribal Court, except the following:
A. The Court Administrator, Assistant Clerks, and members of the RTC.
B. Those who have been convicted by a court of the United States or of any state of the United States for a felony, as a felony is defined by the laws of that jurisdiction or a gross misdemeanor within one (1) year immediately preceding the proposed appointment as judge or justice.
2). All judges or justices of the Tribal Court, whether chief, associate, or deputy, shall be lawyers experienced in the practice of tribal and Federal Indian law and licensed to practice in the highest court of any state.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 3, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 3
Candidates for the positions of Chief Judge shall be screened by a committee of five (5) or more Band members selected for that purpose by the Reservation Business Committee. The screening committee may be composed of any combination of the Executive Director for the Band, department heads, elders, or other respected members of the Band. The screening committee shall submit its recommendations for appointments to the Reservation Tribal Council which shall make a final selection. Associate judges shall be selected in the same manner except that the Chief Judge shall participate on the screening committee.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 4, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 4
The Chief Judge and Associate Judge shall be appointed by the Reservation Tribal Council to three (3) year terms under written contracts specifying the compensation and other terms and conditions of the employment of the judge. Ninety (90) days prior to the expiration of the term of office of each judge the Reservation Tribal Council shall consider whether to renew the contract of employment of each judge for an additional term. If the Reservation Tribal Council determines to not renew the contract it shall so notify the judge in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the judge's current term. Failure of the Reservation Tribal Council to take affirmative action to nonrenew the judge's contract as provided herein shall result in an automatic appointment for an additional three year term and renewal of the existing contract of employment. The compensation of any judge shall not be reduced during his/her term of office.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 5, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 5
The Reservation Tribal Council may remove any judge or justice of the Tribal Court during the term of his/her office only for cause based upon any of the following grounds:
A. Serious misconduct or incompetence in the performance of her/his duties as judge.
B. Personal conduct involving moral turpitude, whether or not related to judicial duties, or conduct which brings the prestige of her/his office or that of the Band into public disrepute.
C. Habitual neglect of her/his duties as judge or justice.
D. Persistent illness or other disability which renders her/him incapable or otherwise unable to regularly perform her/his duties as judge or justice.
Such removal shall be by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the RTC at a valid meeting called for the purpose of considering such removal, provided that the subject judge or justice shall be given a full hearing and fair opportunity to present testimony and evidence in her/his behalf, and to cross-examine and rebut all witnesses and evidence considered by the RTC in support of removal. The subject judge or justice shall be given not less than twenty (20) days written notice in advance of the hearing, which notice shall include an itemization of the charges or grounds for removal which are to be considered. Such notice shall be served by registered or certified mail, or delivered personally to her/him by a party duly authorized by the RTC.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 6, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 6
No judge or appellate justice shall officiate in any proceeding in which she/he has any personal interest, or in which any party, witness or counsel is related to her/him by blood or marriage, within the third degree, or in which any party, witness or counsel stands or has previously stood in relationship to the judge of ward, attorney, client, employer, employee, landlord, tenant, business associate, creditor or debtor.
Any party may bring a motion for disqualification of a judge or appellate justice on the grounds set forth herein or on the grounds of personal bias or prejudice towards any party to the proceeding. A motion for disqualification shall be supported by an affidavit of the party bringing the motion setting forth the grounds therefore. If the judge grants the motion he/she shall appoint another judge to preside over the case. If the judge denies the motion, she/he shall do so by written order setting forth the reasons for denial.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 7, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 7
.LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 8
Section 8. Oath of Office
Prior to assuming any judicial office of the Tribal Court, the appointee shall take the following oath:
“I swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the By-laws of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe and the Leech Lake Band, and the laws of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and that I will faithfully and diligently perform the duties of (Chief Judge, Associate Judge, Deputy Judge, Appellate Justice, as applicable) of the Tribal Court, to the utmost of my ability, with impartiality and without improper favor, to the end that justice may be fully served.”
The Chief Judge and Associate Judge shall take the prescribed oath before the Chairperson of the Reservation Tribal Council. Deputy judges and justices may take the prescribed oath by affidavit, before the Chief Judge, or before any member of the Reservation Tribal Council.
Leech Lake Ojibwe Jud. Code, T. 1, Courts Part III, § 8, LLOjibwe JCT1 CTS Part III, § 8