Tribal Code

Appeals

WARM SPRINGS TRIBAL CODE
CHAPTER 203
APPEALS

Table of Contents

I. GENERAL
203.001 Constitution of the Court.
203.005 Decisions of the Court.
203.010 Definitions.

II. JURISDICTION
203.015 Court of Appeals.
203.020 Criminal Jurisdiction.
203.025 Civil Jurisdiction.
203.030 Custody Jurisdiction.

III. PROCEDURES
203.100 Filing of Notice.
203.105 Appellate Hearings.

WARM SPRINGS TRIBAL CODE
CHAPTER 203
APPEALS

I. GENERAL

203.001 Constitution of the Court.

  1. The Warm Springs Court of Appeals (“Court of Appeals”) shall consist of judges appointed for a term of three years by the Tribal Council.
  2. The minimum eligibility requirements for Appeals Court Judges shall be as follows: (a) At least 26 years of age; (b) A Juris Doctor degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association; (c) No felony convictions; (d) No criminal convictions under the WSTC for twelve (12) months preceding application; (e) Demonstrated to have a high moral character; (f) Physically able to perform the duties of a judge; (g) Demonstrate the ability to solve problems and judge with fairness; (h) Demonstrate knowledge of and ability to appropriately apply the Warm Springs Tribal Code, the Tribal constitution and bylaws, and other applicable laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Indian Civil Rights Act; (i) Pass the Tribal bar examination within six (6) months of assuming office; and (j) Uphold the Oath of Office.
  3. Appeals Court judges shall not serve on the Tribal Council or on any other Tribal Board or Committee.
  4. One of the judges shall be appointed as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals (“Chief Judge”) by the Tribal Council and shall be responsible for administering the Court of Appeals. The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall determine, in consultation with the Tribal Council, performance requirements and standards for all Appeals Court Judges. Additionally, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall administer the summary dismissal process set forth in WSTC 203.100(3).
  5. During the first year following their initial appointment, Appeals Court Judges shall be on a probationary status. During the probationary period, Appeals Court Judges may be removed from the bench at any time without cause by the Tribal Council. Further, failure to pass the Tribal bar examination during the first six (6) months on the bench will result in immediate disqualification from hearing cases and, if not corrected within 90 days, automatic removal from the bench.
  6. At least three judges assigned by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall sit as the Court of Appeals panel on each case.
  7. WSTC 200.250, WSTC 200.260, WSTC 200.265, WSTC 200.270, WSTC 200.275, and WSTC 200.280 shall apply to judges of the Court of Appeals.
  8. The Court of Appeals Clerk shall provide administrative support to the Court of Appeals.
  9. The Tribal Council shall set the compensation for the Judges of the Court of Appeals for the time that judicial services are being rendered to the Tribe. In setting the compensation, the Tribal Council will take into account the local market hourly rate for attorneys with similar levels of experience.
  10. Appointment of the Judges of the Court of Appeals shall be in accordance with the Tribe’s employment preference policies.

203.005 Decisions of the Court.

  1. The Court of Appeals shall render a written decision.
  2. The decision shall cite the legal basis for the determination as well as clearly outline the reasons in support of the decision.
  3.  The decision of the Court of Appeals must be agreed upon by a majority of the judges on the panel.

203.010 Definitions.

  1. “Appeal” is a procedure providing for review of decisions of the Tribal Court to determine whether or not the orders and judgments of the Tribal Court upon a matter were in accordance with applicable law.
  2. “Affirm Judgment” is the finding by the Court of Appeals that the order or judgment of Tribal Court is in accordance with law.
  3. “Brief” is a written argument submitted to convey to the Court of Appeals the essential facts of a case; a statement of the questions of law involved; the law that is urged to be applied; and, the application that the person submitting desires be made of the law by the Court of Appeals.
  4. “Grounds” is the basis for a belief, action, or argument.
  5. “Party” means an individual who is a plaintiff, defendant, or intervener in a civil or criminal action.
  6. “Reverse Judgment” is the setting aside of a Tribal Court order or judgment by the Court of Appeals upon finding that the Tribal Court was in error.
  7. “Stay of Judgment” is a halt in a judicial proceeding where by its order the Tribal Court will not take further action until some event occurs.
  8. “Tribal Court” is the Warm Springs Reservation Tribal Court described in Warm Springs Tribal Code Chapter 200.

II. JURISDICTION

203.015 Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments and other final orders of the Tribal Court.

203.020 Criminal Jurisdiction. In a criminal case, the final decision for appeal is that judgment of the Tribal Court which ends in a conviction and sentencing of the criminal defendant.

  1. In addition to the right of appeal from the final judgment, a criminal defendant is permitted appeal from an order after judgment that substantially and adversely affects significant rights.
  2. Generally, there will be no right of appeal where a criminal defendant has voluntarily entered a plea of guilty or no contest to the charge. An exception exists in those cases where it is alleged that the guilty plea was entered by the defendant without the necessary knowledge or understanding of the plea; or where there was coercive influence; or, where the defendant has been denied a reasonable right to counsel.

203.025 Civil Jurisdiction. In a civil case, a final decision is one that terminates a formal hearing and leaves the Tribal Court with no further involvement in the matter but to carry out the judgment. To constitute an appealable final decision, the judgment must show on its face that it is a complete determination of the controversy clearly expressing the intention of the Tribal Court Judge that it be the final action taken in the case. An order or judgment of Contempt of Court is appealable.

203.030 Custody Jurisdiction. In a custody case, the Tribal Court may issue temporary judgments or orders affecting rights of the parents or guardians:

  1. Appeals of temporary judgments or orders are limited to those that substantially affect the basic rights of the persons affected who do not prevail. A Temporary Custody Order shall be exempt from all Stay of Judgment actions, whether the Temporary Custody Order is appealed or not;
  2. Appeal of a temporary custody order or judgment may be filed at any time from the time that the order originally issues to the point where it becomes a final judgment.

III. PROCEDURES

203.100 Filing of Notice. Request for a hearing on appeal will begin with the filing of a Notice of Appeal.

  1. A Notice of Appeal must include the following information: (a) Name(s) of the party or parties seeking the appeal; (b) Case number of the order, judgment or sentence being appealed; (c) Identification of the specific order, judgment or sentence being appealed; (d) Grounds for appeal as specified in subsection (5) of this section.
  2. The failure to comply with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to summary dismissal pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. Additionally, the failure to file a notice of appeal within 30 days with the clerk of the Court of Appeals from the date of the order or judgment being appealed shall be subject to summary dismissal pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. The 30 day time period in which the notice of appeal must be filed shall be consecutive days computed by excluding the first day and including the last day; provided, however, that if the last day of the 30 day time period is a Saturday, Sunday, or other legal holiday, the filing may occur on the next Tribal government working day following that day.
  3. An appeal shall be subject to summary dismissal upon the motion of the court or of a party for the failure to comply with the requirements of subsections (1), (2), (4), and (5) of this section. In the event of a summary dismissal, an appellant shall have a period of ten days from the date that the notice of dismissal is mailed to the appellant within which to request that the court reinstate the appeal. The ten (10) day period shall be consecutive days computed by excluding the first day and including the last day; provided, however, that if the last day of the ten (10) day time period is a Saturday, Sunday, or other legal holiday, the filing may occur on the next Tribal government working day following that day. The request for reinstatement of the appeal shall be made in writing, filed with the clerk of the Court of Appeals, and shall include a good faith explanation of why the appellant was unable to comply with the requirements of subsections (1), (2), (4), and (5) of this section. The court, in its discretion, shall rule on the request within 30 days of the time that it has been filed; otherwise, the request is deemed denied. In the event that the request for reinstatement is denied, the dismissal of the appeal is final.
  4. An appellant’s brief shall contain the following information: (a) Assignments of error that set forth verbatim the ruling claimed to be error and where the ruling can be located in the trial court record; (b) Citations to the trial court record that demonstrate that the trial court had an opportunity to address the claim of error made on appeal; (c) Citations to any facts in the record that the appellant claims supports the claim of error and where those facts can be located in the record; (d) Arguments as to why the ruling is claimed to be error together with supporting citations to tribal code provisions, constitutional provisions, federal code provisions, administrative regulations, or decisions in other cases upon which the appellant relies; and (e) Argument as to how the error in the trial court was material, affected the outcome in the trial court, and prejudiced the appellant. A respondent’s brief shall contain an answer to each assignment of error including citations to evidence in the record and where they can be located in the record as well as citations to any legal authority upon which the respondent relies.
  5. Legally cognizable grounds for appeal include and are limited to: (a) Lack of jurisdiction of the trial court; (b) A legal ruling by the trial court that is erroneous, or that exceeds the authority of the trial court as set forth in Warm Springs Tribal Code Chapter 200; (c) A procedural violation of the Warm Springs Tribal Code, the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 (25 U.S.C. Section 1302) and any other Congressional Act incorporated by the Tribal Council into the Warm Springs Tribal Code; (d) The lack of any direct, circumstantial, or inferential evidence to support the factual determination made in the trial court; and (e) A trial court decision that conflicts with the Constitution or Bylaws of the Tribe or a tribal ordinance.
  6. The failure to state a legally cognizable ground for appeal as set forth in subsection (5) above shall be grounds for summary dismissal pursuant to subsection (3) of this section. The Court of Appeals shall consider no evidence on appeal not admitted into the evidentiary record of the trial court, nor shall it review the record to make its own factual determinations. In considering grounds for appeal, the Court of Appeals shall be bound by factual determinations including those made by trial courts and juries if there is any evidence to support those factual determinations. Any motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence shall be made in the trial court, and the trial court shall retain jurisdiction for purposes of ruling on such a motion or ordering a new trial based on newly-discovered evidence. In the event that the trial court orders a new trial, the appeal will be held in abeyance.
  7. Except as provided in subsection (8) of this section, upon the timely filing of a Notice of Appeal, a Stay of Judgment may be granted by the Tribal Court and shall have the effect of deferring execution of order, judgment or sentence. Such stay will remain in effect until the following occurs: (a) The Notice of Appeal is summarily dismissed under subsection (3) of this section; (b) The Court of Appeals, after a hearing, lifts the stay; (c) A final decision is rendered by the Court of Appeals; or (d) A violation of Stay of Judgment conditions occurs.
  8. There shall be no Stay of Judgment where the Tribal Court determines, after a hearing, that: (a) A stay is not in the best interests of the parties or would impose a substantial risk to the community, to parties or witnesses, or to the defendant; (b) There is a custody order as provided in Section 203.030(1) of this code; or (c) The Tribal Court has ordered participation of a party in a remedial program reasonably necessary for the protection of the health, welfare, or safety of the individual and the Community.Where a Stay of Judgment is denied, the Tribal Court shall enter a written order, which shall include findings of the grounds upon which the Tribal Court based its Order Denying Stay of Judgment. A party who is denied a Stay of Judgment may file a Notice of Appeal of Denial of Stay of Judgment with the Court of Appeals and the appeal of that Order Denying Stay of Judgment shall be heard by the Court of Appeals as an expedited appeal and a decision rendered within seven (7) Tribal government working days of the date of Notice of Appeal of Denial of Stay of Judgment.
  9. Only those parties who were adversely affected by the Tribal Court decision will have standing to file a Notice of Appeal.

203.105 Appellate Hearings. Once a valid and timely filing of a Notice of Appeal has been made, the Appellate Rules of Court will govern the administration, scheduling and conduct of the appeals hearing. A copy of the Appellate Rules of Court will be provided to all parties upon request at the time the Notice of Appeal is filed.

  1. The Court of Appeals may reverse or affirm the order or judgment of the Tribal Court. In the event of the reversal of an order or judgment of the Tribal Court, the Court of Appeals shall remand the case to the Tribal Court for further proceedings consistent with the decision of the Court of Appeals if further action by the Tribal Court is necessary. The Court of Appeals may order a new trial if justice requires that it be done.
  2. Parties may waive oral argument. If a party fails to appear in person or by representative after receiving proper notice, the Court of Appeals may allow the opposing party to present argument, or may dismiss the appeal if deemed appropriate.
  3. The failure of both parties to appear will result in dismissal of the appeal.
  4. The panel will render its decision in writing signed by the Judges of the Court of Appeals within 30 days after the hearing. The failure of the Court of Appeals to render a decision within thirty (30) days after the hearing shall be considered as affirming the order or judgment of the Tribal Court. The decision of the Court of Appeals will be final.
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