Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Tribal Code
CHAPTER 2 ESTABLISHMENT OF COURTS; JUDGES AND OTHER COURT
Section 1-2-1. Courts Established
Section 1-2-2. Judges
Section 1-2-3. Removal of Judges
Section 1-2-4. Powers and Duties of Judges
Section 1-2-5. Disqualification of Judges
Section 1-2-6. Separation of Powers
Section 1-2-7. Oath of Office of Judge
Section 1-2-8. Tribal Court Administrator
Section 1-2-9. Duties of the Tribal Court Administrator
Section 1-2-10. Locations/Sessions of Court
Section 1-2-11. Rules of the Court Procedures
Section 1-2-12. Tribal court funds
There is hereby established a court of general jurisdiction known as the Tribal Court of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which shall include divisions known as the Juvenile Court, the Administrative Court, civil court, mental health commitment and the Court of Appeals.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-1, PTN Code § 1-2-1
1. There shall be appointed one Chief Judge and associate judges who may be called into service when the need arises.
2. There may be appointed appellate judges who shall be called into service when the need arises.
3. The appointment, qualification, and compensation to be received by such judges shall be determined by the Tribal Council, provided, however, that once appointed a judge shall not have his compensation decreased during his term of office, and provided further that no judge shall be suspended or removed from office prior to the expiration of his term, except as provided hereinafter.
4. Judges shall be appointed to six (6) year terms and may be appointed to successive terms of office.
5. Judges shall be selected for appointment by the Tribal Council from nominees received from the Judicial Nominating Committee. The Judicial Nominating Committee shall consist of five (5) members appointed by the Ponca Tribal Council, with each district having at least one (1) representative on the Committee. The Committee shall select from applicants those persons they deem to be qualified to serve as judges of the court. All qualified applicants shall be certified to the Tribal Council. The Ponca Tribal Council shall conduct an open hearing for each nominated person and then select from the candidates the Chief Judge or associate judges.
During tenure in office, a judge may be removed from office for any one of the following reasons: habitual neglect of duties of office; oppression in office for personal gain or advantage; or conviction in any court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude. Removal shall be by petition, signed by at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the voters voting in the last tribal election. The Petition for Removal shall be filed with the Tribal Council. Any Judge subject to removal shall be entitled to a hearing before the Tribal Council and the right to due process of the law. A hearing for removal of any judge upon a petition shall be conducted by the Tribal Council and a two-thirds affirmative vote of the full Tribal Council shall be required to remove the judge from office.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-3, PTN Code § 1-2-3
The following are powers and duties of the Judges of the Tribal Court:
1. Judges shall administer justice and discharge all duties imposed upon them by the constitution of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and by laws, and shall bear and decide matters of a judicial nature and enter judgments and orders disposing of such matters. In the absence of the Tribal Court Administrator, a judge may perform the Tribal Court Administrator's duties in addition to his own.
2. The Chief Judge shall be responsible for the administration of the Court, including assignment of cases and the management of the Court's calendar and business. The Chief Judge shall designate an associate judge to act as Chief Judge in his absence.
3. All judges of the Court shall conform their conduct to the Code of Judicial Conduct as adopted by the American Bar Association until such time as a Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code of Judicial Conduct may be adopted by the Tribal Bar Association or the Tribal Judge's Association.
4. All judges shall have power to:
A. Preserve and enforce order in their immediate presence, and in proceedings before him, when he is engaged in the performance of his judicial duty;
B. Compel obedience to his lawful orders;
C. Compel the attendance of persons to testify in proceedings before him as provided by law;
D. Administer oaths to persons in proceedings before him and in any other case where such shall be necessary in the exercise of his powers and duties; and
E. Punish for civil contempt to assure the effectual exercise of these powers.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-4, PTN Code § 1-2-4
The following rules shall apply to all judges:
1. A judge shall disqualify himself from hearing any matter in which he has a direct interest or in which any party to the matter is a relative by blood, in the first degree, or where he feels that he will not be able to render a just decision.
2. Any party to a legal proceedings may request a change of assignment of judges to hear the proceedings by following the rules proscribed in Title 2, Rule 33.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-5, PTN Code § 1-2-5
There shall be a separation of power between the Tribal Court and the Tribal Council. Decisions of the Tribal Court may be appealed to the Ponca Tribal Appellate Court, but shall not be subject to review by the Tribal Council.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-6, PTN Code § 1-2-6
Every judge, prior to taking office or acting in such office, shall take the following oath or affirmation:
I, ____, do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support, defend, and uphold the Ponca Tribal Constitution, that I will support, uphold and enforce the Law and Order Code of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of my office to the best of my ability.
Said oath shall be administered by the Chairperson of the Tribal Council.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-7, PTN Code § 1-2-7
There shall be a Tribal Court Administrator whose duties shall be described in Section 1-2-9. The appointment, qualifications, terms of office, and compensation of the Tribal Court Administrator shall be determined by the Tribal Council. Additional court personnel may be hired as the need arises.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-8, PTN Code § 1-2-8
It shall be the duty of the Tribal Court Administrator to supervise and keep all records, files, dockets or other records required to be kept by this Code, by rule of the Court, Tribal resolution or as otherwise established; and further to keep a written record of all proceedings of the Court; to administer oaths, to collect and account for all fines, fees or other charges which cause money to come to the Court; to deposit and account for all such moneys in the manner prescribed by the Tribal Council; and to disburse such money as authorized by law. The Tribal Court Administrator shall further assist the Court in any way required to facilitate the performance of its duties, to aid the police or private citizens in their dealings with the Court, and may render assistance to individual members of the Tribe or their counsel in the drafting of documents incidental to proceedings in the Court. The Tribal Court Administrator may not give legal advice.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-9, PTN Code § 1-2-9
The Court of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska may convene for hearing cases in Niobrara, Norfolk, Omaha, or Lincoln, Nebraska, and at such other locations within Ponca Territory which is necessary to provide for the orderly administration of justice. Sessions of the Court for trial of cases in all Divisions, excepting the Appellate Division, shall be held by the Chief Judge, or in case of his disability, absence or unavailability, by an associate judge, provided however, that an associate judge may be called in to hear cases at any time for any reasonable cause by the Chief Judge.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-10, PTN Code § 1-2-10
The time and place of court sessions, and all other details of judicial procedure not prescribed by this Code shall be governed by Rules of Court promulgated as herein provided. It shall be the duty of judges of the Court to make recommendations to the Council for enactment or amendment of such Rules of Court as they believe to be in the interests of improved judicial procedures. In case of failure of the Tribal Council to establish or approve Rules of Tribal Court, the judges acting jointly with the advice and consent of the Law and Justice Committee appointed by the Council shall have authority to establish such rules. Rules of Tribal Court, enacted or amended in the above manner, will be made a part of this Code, but failure to so codify them shall not affect their validity.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-11, PTN Code § 1-2-11
Any funds received by the Court, whether in the form of filing fees, costs, or other fees, shall be deposited into a Tribal Court account which shall be held by the Ponca Tribe. Such funds may be used for Tribal Court development and expenses as directed by the Tribal Council. The funds shall be disbursed in the manner for disbursing all other tribal funds.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Code § 1-2-12, PTN Code § 1-2-12