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Yankton Sioux Tribal Code

Last Revised: 1995



Sec. 12-1-1 Intent

The procedures established in this Pretrial Procedures Code are intended to establish a means whereby civil disputes can be settled in the traditional, customary Indian manner by discussion between the parties before a trusted, impartial tribal authority before resorting to formal trial procedures adopted from the non-Indian society and incorporated as a part of tribal law. The procedures require that formal court authority be invoked by the filing of a complaint, but anticipate that a great percentage of cases can be settled by traditional and customary means administered by the Tribal Court. The procedures set forth herein shall not be interpreted or applied to deny any person any right otherwise guaranteed by Tribal, state or federal law.

Sec. 12-1-2 Applicability

The procedures established in this Code shall apply in all civil cases, if, at the appropriate times referred to herein, there are two or more judges of the Tribal Court holding office and available to participate as provided herein.

Sec. 12-1-3 Time

A pretrial conference as provided herein shall be held in all civil cases once the case is at issue and the presiding judge shall cause to be served 14 days notice of the pretrial conference.

Sec. 12-1-4 Attendance

All plaintiffs and all defendants shall be required to attend the pretrial conference. The parties may, upon obtaining the advance consent of the judge assigned to conduct the pretrial conference, bring with them such other persons, not including their attorney, advocate or lay counselor, as will tend to further the resolution of the issues of the case.

Sec. 12-1-5 Failure To Appear; Penalties

Any person summoned to appear at a pretrial conference who shall fail to appear may be subject to contempt proceedings.

Sec. 12-1-6 Conduct of Pretrial Conference

There shall be no record or transcript made of the proceedings at the pretrial conference nor shall any statement made therein by any person be used for any purposes should the case ultimately come to trial. If agreement is reached on some or all of the issues presented in the case, such agreement shall be recorded by the judge conducting the pretrial conference, or Court Clerk at his discretion, and may be embodied in a final or interlocutory order of judgment or in a pretrial order prepared to govern the conduct of any trial subsequently held.

Sec. 12-1-7 Attorneys and Public

Pretrial conferences as provided herein shall not be open to the public nor shall professional attorneys, advocates or lay counselors be allowed to attend as representatives of the parties or otherwise (unless such individuals are parties to the dispute themselves).

Sec. 12-1-8 Judge's Function

The judge conducting the pretrial conference shall listen to the positions of the parties and attempt to work out a settlement of all or some of the issues of the case. Such settlement shall not be inconsistent with the laws, ordinances, customs and traditions of the Tribe.

Sec. 12-1-9 Disposition of Cases

In the event a settlement of the case is successfully worked out, the judge conducting the pretrial conference shall cause a record to be made of such settlement by means of an order or judgment entered in the record of the case. In the event that some of the issues are not agreed to, the judge shall cause a pretrial order to be prepared stating what issues have been settled and what issues remain to be tried and such pretrial order shall supersede the pleadings for purposes of framing the issues for trial. The pretrial order may also contain agreements, stipulations, or orders by the Court as to the production of witnesses and evidence and the conduct of discovery before trial. If trial appears necessary, the Court Clerk shall, at the time of the pretrial conference, obtain the names of all persons to be subpoenaed as witnesses and prepare and arrange for service of the necessary subpoenas.

Sec. 12-1-10 Voluntary Agreements

No settlement of any issue in a civil case shall be made at the pretrial conference except with the voluntary agreement, taken by the judge conducting the pretrial conference, of all parties involved in the determination of the issue.

Sec. 12-1-11 Unsettled Cases

All cases not settled either in whole or in part at the pretrial conference shall be scheduled for trial and a trial held before a judge other than the judge conducting the pretrial conference as if no such pretrial conference had been held, except that any pretrial order agreed to by the parties prior to the trial shall be controlling at the trial.

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