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Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma


Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Tribal Code
Chapter Two. Supreme Court


Section 201. General Provisions

The Supreme Court may hear appeals resulting from all final orders or judgments rendered by the District Court, appeals of other orders of the District Court subject to interlocutory appeal by law, and such original actions as may be provided by tribal law, and shall render its decision in writing to the parties of interest, file a copy thereof in the Supreme Court Clerk's office and the Tribal Secretary's office, and, at the time of filing, submit a copy to the official reporter of the decisions of the Court. The decision of the Supreme Court shall be final and binding upon the parties.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 201, AST COURTS Code Section 201

Section 202. Composition of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court shall consist of one (1) Chief Justice, and six (6) Associate Justices.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 202, AST COURTS Code Section 202

Section 203. Minimum Qualifications of Justices

To be eligible for selection or confirmation as a Justice of the Supreme Court, a person shall:

(a) be either

(1) an enrolled member of the Tribe, or

(2) the parent, child, or spouse of an enrolled member of the Tribe, or

(3) actually domiciled within the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribe, or

(4) an attorney, or

(5) a lay advocate who has regularly practiced before the Court as a member of the Bar of the Court for a period of seven (7) years, or

(6) an Indian graduate of an American Bar Association approved Law School, or a Paralegal program approved by the Supreme Court; and

(b) have demonstrated moral integrity and fairness in his business, public and private life, and

(c) have never been convicted of a felony or an offense involving moral turpitude, whether or not actually imprisoned, and have not been convicted of any offense, except traffic offenses, for a period of five (5) years next preceding his appointment. The five (5) year period shall begin to run from the date the person was unconditionally released from supervision of any sort as a result of a conviction.

(d) have regularly abstained from the excessive use of alcohol and any use whatsoever of illegal drugs or psychotoxic chemical solvents.

(e) be not less than thirty (30) years of age.

(f) not be a member of the Executive Committee, or the holder of any other elective Tribal Office of this Tribe, provided, that a candidate who is a member of the Executive Committee, or the holder of some other elective Tribal Office, may be confirmed as a Justice subject to his resignation. Upon resignation from his office, he may be sworn in as and assume the duties of judicial office.

(g) if less than fifty (50) years of age, have completed at least sixty (60) semester credit hours at an accredited college or university, or at least four years of previous experience as a Judicial Officer for some recognized Court.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 203, AST COURTS Code Section 203

Section 204. Selection of Justices

Justices shall be selected in accordance with the provisions of Section 103 of this Title.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 204, AST COURTS Code Section 204

Section 205. Term of Office

All Justices of the Supreme Court shall serve six (6) year terms of office beginning from the date of their confirmation and until their successors take office, unless removed for cause, or by death or resignation. The first appointments of Justices hereunder shall be for terms which may vary in order to provide for staggered terms of office.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 205, AST COURTS Code Section 205

Section 206. Oath of Office

Before assuming office each Justice shall take an oath to support and protect the Constitution of the Tribe and to administer justice in all causes coming before him with integrity and fairness, without regard to the persons before him to be administered by the Chief Justice, the Governor, or the ranking available Justice of the Court.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 206, AST COURTS Code Section 206

Section 207. Duties and Powers of Justices

All Justices of the Supreme Court, unless disqualified for conflict of interest of other cause, shall participate in the deliberations of that body and shall have the duty and power to conduct all Court proceedings, and issue all orders and papers incident thereto, in order to administer justice in all matters within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. In doing so the Supreme Court shall:

(a) Be responsible for creating and maintaining rules of the Court, not contrary to the Tribal Constitution or Code, regulating conduct in the Supreme and District Courts to provide for the orderly and efficient administration of justice and the administration of the Courts. Such rules shall determine, where not otherwise provided by law, what actions may be taken by a single Justice of the Court, and shall be filed with the Clerk of the Court and the Tribal Secretary.

(b) Hear appeals from the District Court at a designated time and place.

(c) Enter all appropriate orders and judgments.

(d) Keep all appropriate records as may be required.

(e) Perform any and all other duties as may be required for the operation of the Supreme Court and the District Court.

(f) Supervise the actions of the District Court and all Clerks, Reporters, Bailiffs, and other officers of the Courts.

(g) Perform any of the duties and powers of a District Judge in appropriate cases.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 207, AST COURTS Code Section 207

Section 208. Reserved

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 208, AST COURTS Code Section 208

Section 209. Compensation of Justices

(a) The compensation of all Justices of the Supreme Court shall be set by legislation of the Executive Committee. No Justice shall have his compensation reduced during his term of office, except that if funds be unavailable for appropriation, the compensation of all judicial officers may be reduced proportionally to the availability of funds.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Executive Committee from contracting or agreeing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or any other government, agency, or organization that such government, agency, or organization shall provide all or part of the compensation of a Justice of the Supreme Court, and shall in return have control over the compensation of such Justice. In such situations the Executive Committee shall recommend to the funding party the compensation of Supreme Court Justices.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 209, AST COURTS Code Section 209

Section 210. Removal of Justices

Justices of the Supreme Court may not be removed from office except upon final conviction of a felony, or an offense punishable by banishment, or an offense involving moral turpitude, in which case the Supreme Court shall enter its order disbarring and expelling such Justice from the Court and declaring that Judicial Office vacant.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 210, AST COURTS Code Section 210

Section 211. Disqualifications, Conflict of Interest

(a) No Justice shall hear any case when he has a direct financial, personal, or other interest in the outcome of such case or is related by blood or marriage to one or both of the parties as: husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, or any other legal dependent. A Justice should attempt to prevent even the appearance of partiality or impropriety.

(b) Either party in interest in such case or the Justice may raise the question of conflict of interest. Upon decision by the Justice concerned or the Supreme Court that disqualification is appropriate, a Judge, Magistrate, or Special Justice may be appointed to sit on the Supreme Court to hear the matter before the Court.

(c) Any Justice related to one or more of the parties in one of the relationships enumerated in Subsection (a) of this section, may hear a case if all parties are informed of the blood or marriage relationship on the record in open Court and of their right to have a the interested Justice disqualified from the case, and consent in writing filed in the case, or upon the record in open Court to the conflict of interest. Normally, the Justice knowing of the conflict of interest should simply file an order recusing himself from the action and stating his relationship with the parties. Thereafter, if the parties consent to that Justice hearing the action, they should file their written consent for such Justice to continue in the cause. If all parties file such consents, the Justice may then enter his order withdrawing the his recusation on grounds of the consents filed. A consent to the withdrawal of a Justices recusation may not be withdrawn.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 211, AST COURTS Code Section 211

Section 212. Decisions

(a) All decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court shall be rendered in writing to the parties in interest, the District Court in appeal cases, filed in the Supreme Court Clerk's Office and the Tribal Secretary's office, transmitted to the official reporter of the decisions of the Court, and recorded on a form approved by the Supreme Court for such purpose. The form shall provide for recording the date of the decision or opinion, the case number, the names of the parties before the Court, the issues presented of appeal or the substance of the complaint in an action within the Court's original jurisdiction, the relevant facts upon which the decision on appeal was made or as found by the Court to be true in an original action, the Court's decision, and the legal principals and reasoning supporting the Court's decision. A written Court opinion containing the above information may be filed by the majority or dissent in lieu of the form.

(b) Each Justice shall record in writing his decision, or the fact of his not participating when he is disqualified, on each case decided by the Supreme Court as part of the permanent record.

(c) The decision form or Court opinion shall be placed in the file of the case on appeal as an official document of the case.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 212, AST COURTS Code Section 212

Section 213. Rules of the Court

(a) The Supreme Court shall establish rules concerning the administration of the Courts and conduct in the Supreme and District Courts not inconsistent with Tribal law or the Tribal Constitution. Such rules shall govern the conduct, demeanor, and decorum of those in the Court as well as the form and filing of appeals, briefs, pleadings, and other matters which will make the Court function more efficiently.

(b) The Rules shall be filed in the Court Clerk's office, the office of  the Tribal Secretary, and delivered to the official reporter of decisions of the Court.

(c) The Court may require the observance of its Rules as a prerequisite before taking any action in a matter.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 213, AST COURTS Code Section 213

Section 214. Special Appointments

Whenever, due to vacancies in office, disqualification of Justices, or other cause, a minimum of three (3) Justices to hear and decide the merits of a case before the Court cannot be convened from the available Justices, the Court, including any disqualified Justices, may designate by Court Order one or more duly qualified Judges of the District Court or Magistrates, not having served on the trial of the case, or some member of the Bar of the Court to sit on the Supreme Court as a Special Justice for purposes of the appeal or the original action, or request the Executive Committee to make one or more special appointments to hear specific named cases, or cases filed prior to the date a minimum of three (3) Justices can be convened on such cases. No special procedure need by followed in making such appointments and special Justices need not meet the qualifications of Section 102(a) and (g) of this Title, although special appointments by the Executive Committee shall be made by formal action with notice to the parties in a case where appropriate.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 214, AST COURTS Code Section 214

Section 215. Supreme Court's Action on Appeals

In any appeal properly before it, the Supreme Court shall have full authority to affirm, reverse, modify, or vacate any action of the District Court or other entity from whom the appeal is taken as authorized by law, and may enter such order as is just or remand the case for the entry of a specified judgment, for a new trial, or for such further action in accordance with the Supreme Court's opinion or instructions as shall be just.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 215, AST COURTS Code Section 215

Section 216. Terms of the Court

The regular term of the Court shall commence on the first Monday in October of each year, and upon that date the Supreme Court shall convene in its Courtroom for the purpose of disposing of the actions and other business before the Court. The term shall continue until such time as the Court determines that its business is properly disposed of and the term shall then be declared completed. Special terms may be convened at any time upon the call of the Chief Justice for the purpose of dispensing with pressing matters which may not be justly delayed until the regular term of the Court.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 216, AST COURTS Code Section 216

Section 217. Court Fund

There is hereby authorized to be maintained by the Clerk under the supervision of the Court, a fund to be known as the “Court Fund” into which shall be deposited all fines, fees, penalties, costs, and other monies authorized or required by law to be paid to the Courts which are not to be distributed to any party to a case and for which no requirement is imposed by law for the deposit of such funds into a particular account. These funds shall be maintained by the court and used exclusively for the purchase of supplies, materials, and personal property for the use of the Courts, e maintenance of the Court law library, and such other applications as shall be specifically authorized by law. The Court Fund shall not be used for the payment of salaries of regular Judges or Justices of the District or Supreme Courts.

Absentee Shawnee Courts Code Section 217, AST COURTS Code Section 217