--- Am. Tribal Law ----, 2023 WL 4580844 (Colville C.A.), 16 CCAR 08
Colville Tribal Court of Appeals.
COLVILLE CONFEDERATED TRIBES, Appellant
Justine JAKE, Appellee
Case No. AP23-002, 8 CTCR 29
June 5, 2023
Trial Court No. CR-2022-45058; CR2022-45059; and CR-2023-46001PROCEDURAL SUMMARY
Appellee, Justine Jake, was charged with two drug charges on January 3, 2023, and was arraigned on the same day. A bail hearing was also held on that date for two other outstanding cases. The Court granted Appellant, Colville Tribes, request for bail setting it at $250.00 each for the three charges, i.e. $750.00 total.
On February 3, 2023 Appellee filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus alleging she needed immediate medical care for broken, infected teeth. The Judge granted the Writ and released Appellee on personal recognizance without providing notice to Appellant of the Writ, and without a hearing on the request. Appellant filed a timely appeal on February 9, 2023 and this Court held an Initial Hearing on February 17, 2023, at which we found the parties were to file briefs on the issue.
Is it appropriate for the Tribal Court to use CTC § 2-2-211 to address bail modification when bail has already been allowed?
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The issue is a question of law. The standard of review is de novo. CCT v. Naff, 2 CCAR 50 (1995).
We addressed the issue of using a Writ of Habeas Corpus for bail issues in Parisien v. CCT, 11 CCAR 51 (2014). It was the fourth case in which this Court reviewed CTC § 2-2-211 in light of interlocutory appeals alleging excessive bail. See, Matt v. CCT, 11 CCAR 50 (2013), Vargas v. CCT, AP13-016IA (unpublished opinion); and Friedlander v. CCT, AP13-017IA (unpublished opinion).
In Parisien we held “...the statutory law of the Tribes first directs the appellants to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus on the issue of bail (CTC § 2-2-211) before bringing the matter before the Court of Appeals.” We now hold this is the wrong interpretation of CTC § 2-2-211, and we overturn this ruling based on the reasoning below.
CTC § 2-2-211, Writ for Purpose of Bail, states: “When a person is imprisoned or detained in custody on any criminal charge, for want of bail, such person is entitled to a Writ of Habeas Corpus for the purpose of giving bail, upon averring that fact in his petition, without alleging that she is illegally confined.” (Emphasis added). In our previous cases, culminating in Parisien, supra, we did not consider the part of the statute that referred to “for want of bail.”
Further, in Parisien we held that the Trial Court’s finding that a motion to reduce or reconsider bail reduction was more appropriate was not supported by the law. This was in error. Upon a careful reading of the statute, a Writ of Habeas Corpus for bail purposes is limited to those who have not been granted any bail. The defendant does not have to allege she is being illegally confined if she is filing under this statute.
In this case Appellee was granted bail; bail was set at $250.00 for each case, for a total of $750.00. Based on our caselaw at the time of Appellee filing the Writ of Habeas Corpus to address her request to be released on bail, Appellee was not in error. The Trial Court, however, did not follow the statute. It did not give notice to Appellant nor hold a hearing on the Writ. See CTC §§ 2-1-213 to 2-1-215. There is nothing in the record to show why the Trial Court did not follow the statute.
Whether a Writ would be appropriate in cases in which excessive bail is set is an issue not currently before us; however, it could raise a concern that the excessive bail is illegal, and, therefore, subject to a review under this statute causing the defendant to be illegally confined. We will save that issue for a more appropriate case.
Based on the foregoing we now hold that the part of Parisien v. CCT, 11 CCAR 51 (2014), which requires a defendant to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to CTC § 2-2-211 before seeking a bail reduction or change is OVERTURNED, and it is appropriate to request bail changes by motions before the Trial Court. This does not affect the use of CTC § 2-2-211 when a defendant is being held without bail. We further hold that the Order of the Trial Court herein dated February 7, 2023 is REVERSED and this matter is REMANDED for further action consistent with our opinion.
It is so ORDERED.