Back to Table of Contents

San Ildefonso Pueblo Code

Received: 1996


*Digitizer's Note:
The remainder sections of Chapter 6 are found in Title II.

Sec. 6.4
- Court Sessions.

Regular sessions of the court shall be held as established by order of the Court at the Pueblo of San Ildefonso Court in San Ildefonso, New Mexico or as designated by the Courts.

Sec. 6.5
- Official Station.

The Pueblo of San Ildefonso Court at San Ildefonso, New Mexico is designated as the place where current records of the Court shall be kept and the official station of the Court Clerk shall be designated by the Council.

Sec. 6.6 - Location of Filing.

All pleadings, motions, and other papers shall be filed with the Pueblo of San Ildefonso Court at San Ildefonso, New Mexico, or any other place which will be designated by the Council.

Sec. 6.7
- Copies of Documents.

Records or documents in the files of the Courts shall not be taken from the office or custody of the Court Clerk, except upon the consent of the Clerk. Only parties litigant or counsel for parties will be allowed the right to remove documents and only for good cause shown and after giving proper receipts to the Clerk.

Sec. 6.8
- Notice to Parties.

All cases at issue shall be set for trial on their merits at the time and place to be designated by the Court and written notice of not less than five (5) days shall be given counsel and/or to the parties.

Sec. 6.9
- Extension of Time.

The Court may grant an extension of time to answer or otherwise plead to a complaint or amended complaint, if a written request is timely filed.

Sec. 6.10
- Court Decorum.

The following rules shall govern Court decorum not allowing any interference or disturbance with the proceedings before the Court:

(1) A Law Enforcement or other Pueblo Officer may be appointed Court Bailiff by the Judge and the Bailiff will open each session of the Court and be present to keep order in the courtroom at all times and to carry out orders of the presiding Judge to remove persons violating these rules.

(2) The public will be permitted to the courtroom during trial sessions except that presence of spectators in the courtroom may be prohibited by the Judge during taking of certain testimony of a highly sensitive nature.

(3) All men in the courtroom shall remove their hats. All persons shall be dressed in a clean, neat manner, and no persons shall smoke or chew gum in the courtroom.

(4) Loud or unusual noises, the use of profane language or disturbance of any kind will not be tolerated in the courtroom.

(5) No one shall be allowed in the courtroom who appears to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

(6) Respect and courtesy shall be shown to the Judge, parties, and court officers at all times.

(7) A flag of the United States and the Pueblo of San Ildefonso shall be displayed in the courtroom at all times.

(8) No sketches, photographs shall be taken during proceedings of the court.

Sec. 6.11
- Exhibits.

All separate documents, Photographs, papers, written or printed instruments of any nature shall be given separate exhibit numbers with exhibits for the plaintiff numbered numerically and exhibits for the defendant marked alphabetically after being admitted into evidence. In civil cases, all exhibits in the custody of the Clerk, after judgment becomes final or after final disposition of the action, shall be delivered or mailed by the Clerk to the parties offering the same or to their counsel. Any exhibits refused by a party or counsel any be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the Clerk upon order of the Judge.

Sec. 6.12
- Rules of Evidence.

Except as otherwise expressly provided under this Code, the Tiles of Evidence shall follow the Federal Rules of Evidence as guidelines in the criminal or civil proceedings of this Court.

Sec. 6.13
- Jury Trial.

When a demand for trial by jury is contained within a pleading instead of being separately filed, the demand shall be brought to the attention of the Clerk by the pleader, either orally or in writing, at the time of the filing of the pleading, which shall be made within the prescribed time limit, and the Clerk shall call this demand to the attention of the Tribal Judge.

Sec. 6.14
- Rules Governing Jury Trial.

(1) In any criminal case where there is a probable jail sentence upon conviction, a trial jury may be requested by the defendant at the preliminary hearing or arraignment or by written application to the Court within three (3) days thereafter.

(2) Either party litigant in a civil case involving a claim in excess of $500.00 may request a jury trial except in domestic relation cases, cases involving adoptions, probates, minors, incompetence, injunctions, contempt, and cases in the Court of Appeals.

(3) A jury shall consist of six (6) persons seated by the Chief Judge, from a list of twenty (20) resident members of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso sworn in prior to questioning, with the agreement of counsel.

(4) When the jury has been seated, the jurors' oath shall be administered by the Tribal Judge.

(5) Verdict of the jury may be rendered by a majority vote of four (4) jurors in a civil case, and five (5) jurors in a criminal case. If the plaintiff in a civil case or prosecution in a criminal case shall fail to win the required number of juror votes, judgment shall be entered for the defendant and case dismissed.

(6) Each juror shall be entitled to a fee for each day of jury service plus mileage for travel to and from Court payable by the Pueblo of San Ildefonso pursuant to a schedule established by the Court and approved by the Council.

Sec. 6.15
- Jury Duties.

The Court may order the jury to view the premises where the offense or other material facts occurred. The Court may order the discharge of a juror who becomes sick or is otherwise unable to perform his duty and substitute an alternate juror. In the absence of an alternate and the failure of the parties to stipulate to continue the trial with five (5) or less jurors, the jury shall be discharged and a new jury shall be formed to hear the case.

Sec. 6.16
- Lay Counsel.

Lay Counsel may practice in the Courts of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso.

(1) Each litigant in a civil case and every defendant in a criminal proceeding shall have the right to have lay counsel or spokesmen of their choice represent them at their own expense at a rate not to exceed the rate approved by order of the Chief Judge.

(2) If a defendant in a criminal proceeding has no such representation and cannot afford to obtain representation, then where conviction could result in confinement in a jail, the Tribal Judge may appoint lay counsel to represent the defendant at no expense to the defendant.

(3) Admission of Lay Counsel or Spokesmen. All lay counsel or spokesmen who with to be admitted to the practice before the Court of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso any be admitted to practice upon approval of application in writing by order of the Chief Judge, as follows:

A. Any person who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso, twenty-one (21) years of age or older, is of good moral character, and demonstrates to the Court a thorough knowledge of this Code, the Rules of the Tribal Judiciary and knowledge of the culture, traditions, and laws of the San Ildefonso people, is eligible to apply for admission to general practice as lay counsel or lay advocate or spokesman.

B. Any person who is admitted as lay counsel or spokesman to practice before the Court of the San Ildefonso Pueblo shall, at the discretion of the Chief Judge, furnish bond satisfactory to the Court.

C. No lay counsel or spokesman admitted to practice may act as security for costs or as surety on any appeal or other bond in any case pending in which he is interested.

D. No lay counsel or spokesman in a case may testify as a witness of the trial thereof, except upon permission of the court.

E. Lay counsel or spokesman may be disbarred by the Chief Judge for cause upon notice and a hearing and a finding of violation by the Chief Judge.

Sec. 6.20
- Death or Disability of the Judge.

In the case of death, illness or incapacity of the Judge during the course of a trial, the Chief Judge shall order a new trial and designate another Judge who shall have the same power, authority and jurisdiction as the original Judge.

Sec. 6.21
- Contempt of Court.

Any person may be charged in contempt of court for any of the following reasons:

(1) Disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior, committed in immediate view and presence of the Court and directly tending to interrupt its proceedings or to impair the respect due to its authority.

(2) Any breach of the peace, noise, or other disturbance directly tending to interrupt the proceedings of the Court.

(3) Willful disobedience of any process or order lawfully issued by the Court.

(4) Resistance willfully offered by any person to the lawful order or the process of the Court.

(5) The unlawful refusal of any person to be sworn or affirmed or refusal to answer any material questions except where refusal is based on grounds specified in the Indian Civil Rights Act of April 11, 1968 (82 Stat. 77), (25 U.S.C. 1301).

(6) The publication of a false or grossly inaccurate report of the proceedings of the Court.

(7) Any person who shall request a jury trial and fails to appear on date jury trial is scheduled.

(8) The Court may sentence a person found to be in contempt of court to confinement at labor for a period of not more than six (6) months or to pay a fine of not more than $500.00 or both, with costs, and may also issue such orders as are necessary to enable the person to purge himself of the contempt. There is no right to a jury in a civil contempt hearing.

Sec. 6.22
- Default on Fine.

When a defendant defaults in the payment of a fine or any installment thereof, the Court, on its own motion, shall order the defendant to show cause why he is not in contempt and may issue a summons or an arrest warrant for the defendant's appearance. If good faith is shown or the defendant is indigent, the Court may allow additional time for payment or revoke all or part of the unpaid fine or require labor on behalf of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso or upon refusal of the defendant to cooperate, the Court may order imprisonment until the defendant agrees to cooperate. The Court also may order the seizure and sale of any personal property of the defendant found within the exterior boundaries of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso to satisfy the fine assessed pursuant to this Code.

Sec. 6.23
- Disposition of Fines, Fees, and Other Payments Made to the Court.

Any funds paid to the Court of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso, other than funds collected for other persons, as a result of the provisions of this Code or other lawful orders of the Court, shall be paid to the Clerk of the Court who shall issue a receipt the refore and shall deposit those funds due the Pueblo of San Ildefonso to the Tribal Treasurer. The funds shall be recorded upon the accounts of the Pueblo and shall be available for expenditure upon appropriation by the Council for such purposes as the Council may direct.

Sec. 6.24
- Disposition of Equipment and Property Confiscated by the Court.

Any property, including equipment, which may have been confiscated by lawful order of the Court in a criminal proceeding, after disposition of the case and an order as to the property, under the provisions of this Code shall be sold at public auction after five (5) days notice to the owner and the proceeds thereof deposited by the Clerk of the Court into the general Pueblo Treasury. The funds shall be recorded upon the accounts of the Pueblo and shall be available for expenditure by appropriation of Council for such purposes the Council may direct.

Sec. 6.25
- New Trial.

The grounds for a new trial in a criminal proceeding as set by the Courts of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso are as follows:

(1) Receipt by the jury of evidence not authorized by the Court.

(2) Determination by the jury of a verdict by lot, through intimidation or without a fair expression of opinion.

(3) When the Court has failed to instruct the jury correctly as to the law or has improperly admitted prejudicial material as evidence or has made other errors at law prejudicial to the defendant.

(4) When for other prejudicial cause the defendant has not received a fair and impartial trial.

(5) New evidence discovered and not available at time of original trial.

(6) On such other grounds that will provide due and proper justice as determined by the Judge.

Sec. 6.26
- Appeals.

Appeals may be granted by the Tribal Council from a final order of the Tribal Court under the following procedures:

(1) Any party aggrieved by a final judgment or order of the Tribal Court in any case shall be entitled to appeal to the Tribal Council, provided that a notice of appeal is filed with the Secretary of the Council within ten (10) days after Judgment is entered.

(2) The appeal, if granted, shall be heard by the Tribal Council and the judgment of the Tribal Council shall be final.

(3) If an appeal is taken, the case shall be tried as a new trial.

(4) While a case is on appeal, no action shall be taken on the judgment of the Tribal Court until the appeal has been decided.

(5) Any party filing an appeal shall pay a filing fee in an amount established not to exceed fifty ($50.00) dollars on the fee schedule of the Court.

Sec. 6.27
- Terms of Probation.

The Court, as a condition of any other granting probation to a defendant, may require the defendant:

(1) To meet family responsibilities.

(2) To undertake specific employment or occupation.

(3) To undergo available medical or psychiatric treatment and to attend rehabilitation programs and to enter and remain in a specified institution when required.

(4) To pursue a prescribed course of study or vocational training, including attendance at a Driver Training School.

(5) To attend or reside in a facility established for the instruction, recreation, and residence of person on probation.

(6) To refrain from frequenting unlawful or disreputable places or consorting with disreputable persons.

(7) To possess no firearm or other dangerous weapon unless granted written permission from the Court.

(8) To make restitution or reparation for the loss or damage of any unlawfulacts of commission or omission as may be directed by the Court.

(9) To remain within the jurisdiction of the Court and not to leave that jurisdiction without permission of the Court and to notify the Court or an officer thereof of any change in address or employment.

(10) To report as directed to the Court to a probation officer or other person designated by the Court.

(11) To post a bond, with or without surety, conditioned on the performance of any of these conditions.

(12) To satisfy any other conditions imposed by the Court reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the defendant.

Sec. 6.28
- Dismissal of Cases on File.

All cases now pending or on the docket of the Court, both civil and criminal, upon which no action has been taken for a period of three (3) years after filing shall be and are dismissed, with the approval of this Code, with prejudice, except that any party to a civil case within six (6) months after final approval of this Code may move to have the case renewed or reinstated.

Sec. 6.29
- Cooperation by Federal and State Employees.

Employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the State of New Mexico, particularly but not limited to those who are engaged in law and order, social services, health and educational work, may be requested by the Court to assist the Court in carrying out its duties but no such employee shall obstruct, interfere with or, in any manner attempt to influence the functions of the Court.

Sec. 6.30
- Amendment of the Rules of the Courts of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso.

(1) These rules may be amended by the pueblo of San Ildefonso Judiciary with the consent of the Governor and final approval of the majority of the Council.

(2) Any amendments to these rules of the Court shall be posted at the San Ildefonso Tribal Office and published in any local circular as notice to the public.

Back to Top


Sec. 7.1 Pre-Trial Conference.

The procedure established in this Section are intended to establish a means whereby both civil and criminal disputes can be settled in the traditional and customary manner by discussion between the parties before a trusted, impartial tribal authority prior to resorting to formal trial procedures and are incorporated as a part of the Code. 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 thereafter by the Tribal Court. The procedures set forth herein shall not be interpreted or applied to deny any person any right otherwise guaranteed by San Ildefonso Pueblo or Federal law, including the Indian Civil Rights Act.

Sec. 7.2
- Applicability.

The procedures established in this Section shall apply in all cases, both civil and criminal, if, at the appropriate times referred to herein, there are two (2) or more judges of the Tribal Court holding office on either a temporary or permanent appointment and one is available to participate as provided herein.

Sec. 7.3
- Civil Case.

A pre-trial conference as provided herein may be held in all civil cases once the case is at issue.

Sec. 7.4
- Criminal Cases.

A pre-trial conference as provided herein shall be held in all criminal cases in which the defendant agrees to participate, testify or otherwise cooperate, once the case is at issue by virtue of the defendant entering a plea of not guilty and request for jury to a complaint.

Sec. 7.5
- Time.

At such other time prior thereto as the Chief Judge shall order, a pre-trial conference shall be held as provided herein.

Sec. 7.6
- Attendance - Civil Cases.

All plaintiffs and all defendants shall be required to attend the pre-trial conference in a civil case. The parties may, upon obtaining the advance consent of the Tribal Judge assigned to conduct the pre-trial conference, bring with them such other persons, including their attorney, advocate or lay counselor, as will tend to further the resolution of the issues of the case.

Sec. 7.7
- Attendance - Criminal Cases.

The defendant, complaining witness, arresting officer and such other witnesses as either side may desire to summon, shall be required to attend the pre-trial conference in a criminal case. Upon obtaining the advance consent of the Tribal Judge assigned to conduct the pre-trial conference, either side may summon other persons, including the prosecuting or defense attorneys, advocates or lay counselors, as will tend to further the resolution of the issues of the case and the proper disposition of the defendant, should guilt be admitted. Such other persons may, but need not include the defendant's spouse, other family members, and any social workers, probation officers or similar persons having professional training.

Sec. 7.8
- Conduct of Pre-Trial Conference.

There shall be no record or transcript made of the proceedings at the pre-trial conference nor shall any statements made therein by any person be used for any purpose 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 Tribal Judge conducting the pretrial conference, or Court Clerk at the Tribal Judge's direction, and may be embodied in a final or interlocutory order or judgment or in a pretrial order prepared to govern the conduct of any trial subsequently held.

Sec. 7.9
- Public and Attorneys.

Pre-trial conference as provided herein shall not be open to the public, but professional attorneys, advocates or lay counselors or other parties may be allowed by the Tribal Judge to attend as representatives of the parties or otherwise (unless parties themselves).

Sec. 7.10
- Judge's Function.

The Tribal Judge conducting the pre-trial 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. 7.11
- Disposition of Cases.

In the event a settlement of the case is worked out, the Tribal 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 Tribal Judge shall cause a pre-trial order to be prepared stating what issues have been settled and what issues remain to be tried and such pre-trial order shall supersede the pleadings for purposes of framing the issues for trial.

The pre-trial 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 pre-trial conference, obtain the names of all persons to be subpoenaed as witnesses and prepare and arrange for service of the necessary subpoenas.

Sec. 7.12
- Voluntary Agreements.

No settlement of the issue in a civil case should be made at the pretrial conference except with a voluntary agreement of all parties involved and a determination of the issue, as taken and affirmed by the Judge conducting the pre-trial conference. No settlement of any criminal charge in a criminal case shall be made at the pre-trial conference except with the voluntary agreement of the defendant, as taken and affirmed by the Judge conducting the pre-trial conference. The defendants in criminal cases shall be afforded the opportunity to consult with counsel of their choosing (at their own expenses) if they so desire, prior to agreeing to any judgment or order settling the case or any issue thereof or agreeing to a pre-trial order.

Sec. 7.13
- Criminal Defendants.

A defendant in a criminal pre-trial conference shall not be required to testify, cooperate or otherwise participate in the pre-trial conference. The Judge conducting the pre-trial conference in a criminal case shall explain these matters to the defendant at the beginning of the conference and shall, if a settlement involving an admission of guilt is reached, determine the voluntariness of the agreement and determine that the defendant understands the rights being given up to the same extent as would be determined by the Court if a guilty plea had been offered originally.

Sec. 7.14
Unsettled Cases.

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

Back to Top