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Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Judicial Codes

Approved: 1998; Last amended: 2004

TITLE I - JUDICIAL ADMINISTRATION

Title I was enacted by Resolution 98-41 on July 16, 1998 and effective July 16, 1998.


CHAPTER 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

1.1.01 AUTHORITY

This compilation of laws of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, shall be known as the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Judicial Codes, and is adopted pursuant to the authority vested in the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Tribal Council as the duly elected governing body of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, a federally recognized Indian Tribe.


1.1.02 REFERENCES TO THE TRIBAL CODE

This Code may be referred to as the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Judicial Code, or where the context suitably identifies it as the Judicial Code or Code. Subdivisions of this Code that are identified by a name referring to the particular body of law they contain maybe identified by that name, for example, Criminal Code.


1.1.03 PRIOR ORDINANCES REPEALED

Any and all resolutions or other enactments of the Tribal Council that conflict with the provisions of the Code are hereby repeated to the extent of such conflict.


1.1.04 AMENDMENTS

This Code maybe amended by the adoption of ordinances by the Tribal Council. Amendments shall become a part of this Code for all purposes and shall be codified and incorporated in the Code in a manner consistent with its numbering and organization.


1.1.05 SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, as a sovereign government, is absolutely immune from suit, and its Tribal Council, Judges, Appellate Judges, Ad-hoc Judges, officers, agents, and employees shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability arising or alleged to arise from their performance or non-performance of their official duties. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to constitute a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana except as expressly provided herein or as specifically waived by a resolution or ordinance approved by the Tribal Council specifically referring to such.


1.1.06 ADOPTION OF FOREIGN LAW BY REFERENCE OR INCORPORATION

A. The adoption of any law or other document into this Code by reference or incorporation shall not constitute a waiver or cession of any sovereign power of the Coushatta Tribe the jurisdiction whose law is adopted, or in any way diminish such sovereign power, but shall result in law becoming the law of the Coushatta Tribe.

B. Whenever a law or other document of another jurisdiction is adopted by reference or incorporation as Coushatta law, the omission of any part of that law from the portion adopted shall not be construed as a negative statement regarding the principles embodied in the omitted part, unless such a negative statement is expressly made.

C. whenever a law or other document of another jurisdiction is adopted by reference or incorporation as Coushatta law, the decisions of the courts of that jurisdiction interpreting such law or other document shall not be binding on the Coushatta Tribal Courts unless this Code expressly so provides, but shall be considered as merely advisory.


1.1.07 principles of Construction

The following principles of construction will apply to all of the Code unless a different construction is obviously intended:

(a) Masculine words shall include the feminine, and singular words shall include the plural, arid vice versa.

(b) Words shall be given their plain meaning and technical words shall be given their usually understood meaning where no other meaning is specified.

(c) Whenever a term is defined for a specific part of this Code, that definition shall apply to all parts of this Code unless a contrary meaning is clearly intended.

(d) This Code shall be construed as a whole to give effect to all its parts in a logical, consistent manner.

(e) Whenever the meaning of a term used in this Code is not clear on its face or in the context of the Code, such term shall have the meaning given to it by the laws of the State of Louisiana, unless such meaning would undermine the underlying principles and purposes of this Code.

(f) If any provision of this Code or the application of any provision or any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this Code shall not be affected thereby and to this end the provisions of this Code are declared to be severable.

(g) Any typographical errors or omissions shall be ignored whenever the intended meaning of the provision containing the error or omission is otherwise reasonably certain to the Court.

(h) Any other issues of construction shall be handled in accordance with generally accepted principles of construction giving due regard for the underlying principles and purposes of this Code.

(i) In the event that typographical, citational, reference or other errors appear in this Code as a result of recodification, reorganization, amendment or other changes to this Code, and where, as a result of such changes, it is clear that the legislative intention differs from the literal language in the Code, the Court shall reasonably interpret and follow the general intent of the provision(s) in question in order to avoid unlikely, inconsistent, or strained consequences which may result from a literal reading.

(j) Any references to this Code in any statute, regulation, policy, resolution, Tribal Court opinion or other material adopted or produced by any department or entity of the Coushatta Tribe existing before any duly adopted re-codification, reorganization or other changes in the material referenced shall be deemed to conform to and reflect such changes to the extent necessary and practical.

(k) When there is a conflict between one provision of this Code that treats a subject in a general way and another which treats the same subject in a specific manner, the specific provisions will prevail.


CHAPTER 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM


1.2.01 Establishment:

The judicial power of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (hereinafter "Tribe") is vested in the Coushatta Court and the Coushatta Court of Appeals.


1.2.02 JURISDICTION

A. As used in this Code, "Reservation" shall mean all lands held by the Tribe or held by the United States of America or the State of Louisiana in trust for the Tribe. The Coushatta Court shall have jurisdiction over any offense under this Code committed by any member of the Tribe or an Indian of another tribe or any non-Indian within the boundaries of the Reservation.

B. The Court of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana may exercise subject matter and personal jurisdiction on any basis consistent with the inherent sovereign authority of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

C. The jurisdiction of the Coushatta Court over any person, cause of action or subject shall be exclusive and shall preempt any jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States, the State of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, except in those instances in which federal law provides otherwise. The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana does not recognize, grant, or cede to any governmental body any jurisdiction which does not otherwise exist bylaw.


1.2.03 PERSONAL JURISDICTION

A. Basis for personal jurisdiction shall include, but is not limited, to;

(1) Presence, domicile, or residence on the reservation;

(2) Membership in the Tribe;

(3) Consent, whether by contract, implication or otherwise, including marriage to a tribal member;

(4) Appearance in Tribal Court, other than a special appearance for the sole purpose of contesting jurisdiction;

(5) Contracting or attempt to contract to insure any person, property, or risk located within the Reservation;

(6) Doing business or attempting to do business on the Reservation, including entering or attempting to enter into a contract for the sale, lease, or purchase of any property or services, when such contract is entered into or is to be performed within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation;

(7) Using or attempting to use, or purchasing or attempting to purchase any resource or service of the Tribe or the Reservation;

(8) Engaging in an act on the Reservation;

(9) Causing a foreseeable effect on the Reservation by an act or omission elsewhere;

(10) Ownership, use, or possession of real or personal property on the Reservation.

B. Jurisdiction shall extend to corporations, partnerships, associations, and governmental entitles as well as to natural persons, and the word person as used in this Code includes all of the above.


1.2.04 SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

A. The Court shall have jurisdiction over all real and personal property located on the Reservation to determine the ownership thereof; or rights therein, or to determine the application of such property to the satisfaction of a claim relating to the property.

B. The Court shall have subject matter jurisdiction over all civil causes of action, regardless of whether the parties are Indian or non-Indian.

C. The Court shall have subject matter jurisdiction over all criminal actions in which an Indian is alleged to have violated the criminal provisions of this Code. In civil expulsion actions, the Court shall have subject matter jurisdiction to determine whether or not the non-member defendant, whether Indian or non-Indian, has violated the criminal provisions of this Code, whenever, pursuant to tribal law, such violation would be grounds for expulsion.

D. The Court shall have jurisdiction to grant a divorce, separation, annulment, or protective injunction or restraining order to a party to a marriage, based on jurisdiction over the marriage, even without the presence before the Court of the other party, if either party to the marriage is a bona fide resident of the Reservation, and is an Indian, and if the civil notice requirements of this Code have been met.

E. The Court may exercise jurisdiction to grant a custody order with respect to a child:

(1) who is enrolled in the Tribe; or

(2) who qualifies for enrollment; or

(3) in whom the Court has an interest pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act; or (4) who is present on the Reservation.

F. The Tribal Court shall not exercise jurisdiction over any person unless there is proof on file with the Court that the person has been given notice of the proceedings in a manner which conforms with the requirements of the Rules of Civil Procedure or Rules of Criminal Procedure.

G. Except as otherwise provided by Tribal law, the Court shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction to adjudicate all complaints for the exclusion or removal of persons from the lands of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

H. Except as otherwise provided by Tribal law, the Court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction, and the Court of Appeals shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction, to construe he meaning of Tribal laws, and to determine the legality, under the Indian Civil Rights Act, 25 U.S.C. §1301 et seq., of any action or enactment of the Tribal Council, or any other agent, department, officer, or enterprise of the Tribe and the application of any such action or enactment to any person or situation. This subsection shall not be construed to effect a waiver of sovereign immunity.


1.2.05 Composition of the Trial Court:

There shall be a Trial Court consisting of a Chief Judge, who shall be appointed by the Tribal Council. In the event that the Chief Judge is unable for any reason to hear a case, an Ad Hoc Judge previously appointed by the Council shall be randomly selected by the Clerk of Court to serve in his or her stead.


1.2.06 Judicial Cooperation and Services to Court by tribal or Federal Employees:

All judges and court personnel shall cooperate with all branches of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with all federal, state, parish and municipal agencies, when such cooperation is consistent with this Code, but shall ever bear in mind that their primary responsibility is to the people of the Tribe. The Court may request and utilize social service, health, education or other professional services of Tribal employees as requested [and of federal employees as authorized by the Secretary of the Interior or his authorized representative].


1.2.07 Jurisdiction Over Suits Commenced by Tribe:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, the Tribal Court shall have jurisdiction of all civll actions commenced by the Coushatta Tribe, or by any agency or officer thereof expressly authorized to file suit by the Tribal Council.


1.2.08 Authority and Laws to be Applied in the Trial and Appellate Courts

a) In cases otherwise properly before the Trial and Appellate Courts of the Coushatta Tribe, decisions on matters of both substance and procedure will be based on the following, in the following order of precedent:

1) The Constitution and Bylaws of the Coushatta Tribe.

2) Ordinances of the Coushatta Tribe.

3) Resolutions of the Coushatta Tribe.

4) Customs, traditions and culture of the Coushatta Tribe.

5) Laws, rules arid regulations of the Federal Government and cases interpreting such laws, rules and regulations. These federal authorities may be required to take a higher order of precedence in circumstances dictated by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

6) The laws and rules of the State of Louisiana. This provision shall not be deemed to be an adoption of such laws and rules as the law of the Coushatta Tribe nor as a grant or cession to the State of Louisiana of any right, power, or authority by the Coushatta Tribe.

7) The Common Law.

b) The Courts of the Coushatta Tribe shall not recognize nor apply any federal, state, common law, rule or procedure which is inconsistent with either the spirit or the letter of either the Constitution and Bylaws of the Coushatta Tribe, or with any ordinances or resolutions of the Coushatta Tribe, unless otherwise required, in the case of Federal law only, by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.


1.2.09 Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure to be Applied by the Court

When the Code is silent as to Rules of Evidence, then the Federal Rules of Evidence and cases interpreting such rules shall govern all criminal and civil proceedings in the trial and appellate courts. When the Code is silent as to Rules of Civil Procedure, then the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and cases interpreting such rules shall govern all civil proceedings in the trial and appellate courts. The Court may permit parties in a civil action to use the Louisiana Evidence Rules and Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure and the cases interpreting such rifles, if the parties are in agreement and the patties provide the court with a written stipulation evidencing their agreement.


1.2.10 Trial Court as Court of Record

The Trial Court of the Coushatta Tribe is hereby declared to be a court of record and the Clerk of Court is hereby authorized to certify under seal to the accuracy and validity of the files and records, and any copies made therefrom, of all proceedings before the Trial Court.


1.2.11 Verbatim Records of Court Proceedings

a) The Clerk of Court is hereby authorized to take or cause to be taken, and to preserve and certify under oath as to the accuracy of; a verbatim record of all proceedings before the Trial Court.

b) Such verbatim record maybe taken and recorded by stenographic, electrical, electronic, mechanical or other recording means or devices approved by the Chief Judge of the trial court as a trustworthy means of creating a permanent, verbatim record of all proceedings.

c) The Chief Judge of the Trial Court may, by rule, prescribe the length of time such verbatim records shall be preserved by the Clerk, provided however that such records shall not be kept less than six (6) months following the close of the case involved plus he period of any appeals or supplementary proceedings taken in the case.

COMMENTARY

Portions of this chapter were adopted from the Model Appellate Procedures Code for Use in American Indian Courts, Studies for American Indian Court Judges, National American Indian Court Judges Association.


CHAPTER 3. ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF TRIBAL COURT OF APPEALS


1.3.01 Creation of Court of Appeals:

There is hereby created a Tribal Court of Appeals to hear all appeals from the Trial Court of the Coushatta Tribe.


1.3.02 Jurisdiction of Court of Appeals:

The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals shall extend to all appeals from final orders and judgments of the Trial Court. The Court of Appeals shall review de novo all determinations of the Tribal Court on matters of law, but shall not set aside any factual determinations of the Tribal Court if such determinations are supported by substantial evidence.


1.3.03 Composition of Court of Appeals:

A panel of three (3) judges shall sit as the Tribal Court of Appeals at such times and places as is proper and necessary for the dispatch of any appeals, to hear any appeals from final judgments, sentences and other final orders of the Trial Court.


1.3.04 Records of Court of Appeals:

The Court of Appeals shall keep a record of all proceedings of the Court, showing the title of the case, the name and addresses of all parties and attorneys, the briefs, the date of any oral argument, the names of the Judges who heard and decided the case, and the Judgment together with any other facts and circumstances deemed of importance to the case. A record of all proceedings leading to incarceration shall be submitted to the Area Director of the Eastern Area Office, to be made a part of the records of the Office as required by 25 U.S.C. § 200. Unless specifically excepted by this Code or rule of Court, all decisions and opinions of the court shall be published in a format that shall be available to the public at the Tribal Court.


1.3.05 Records of Appeal:

a) Criminal Cases: The defendant in a criminal case shall have an appeal as of right from a Judgment of Conviction. The Tribe shall have no right of appeal from a jury verdict of "not guilty" in criminal cases, but shall have a right of appeal from a Judgment of "not guilty" rendered by the Tribal Court without a jury. Appeals in criminal cases shall be taken as provided in Section 6.

b) Civil Cases: Any party who is aggrieved by a Final Order or Judgment of the Tribal Court may file a petition requesting the Court of Appeals to review that Order or Judgment as provided in Section 7.


1.3.06 Procedure on Appeal of Criminal Cases:

a) Time to Appeal and How to Appeal: An appeal must be taken within fifteen (15) days from the Judgment appealed from by filing a written notice of appeal with the Clerk of Court. No extension of the fifteen (15) day period shall be granted.

b) Notice of Appeal: The notice of appeal shall specify the party or parties taking the appeal, shall designate the Judgment, or part thereof appealed from, and shall contain a short statement of reasons for the appeal. The Clerk shall mail a copy of the notice of appeal to all parties other than parties taking the appeal.

c) Release on Bond Pending Appeal: In criminal cases the defendant may be continued on release or be released on bail. The appellant may petition the Court of Appeals, or Chief Judge thereof, to review any decision of the Trial Court taken under this section.


1.3.07 Procedure on Decision for Review in Civil Cases:

a) Time to Petition and How to Petition: A party to a civil case may petition for review. The petition for review must be taken within fifteen (15) days from the date of entry of the Final Order or Judgment appealed from by filing such petition with the Clerk of the Tribal Court, together with the docket fee and any bond required pursuant to this section. No extensions of the fifteen (15) day period shall be granted.

b) Contents of Petition for Review: The petition for review shall specify the parties taking the appeal, shall designate the Final Order or Judgment, or part appealed from, and shall contain a short statement why the petition should be granted. The Clerk shall mail a copy of the petition for review to all parties other than the petitioner. Other parties shall have 15 days to respond to the petition for review, after which time the Court of Appeals shall grant the petition and allow the appeal to be heard, or shall deny the petition. The party taking the appeal shall be referred to as the appellant and the other party shall be referred to as the respondent. The name of the case shall be the same as that used in the Trial Court.

c) Docket Fee and Bond: The petition for review shall be accompanied by a docket fee and bond to be set by the trial court. The Court may waive or reduce the bond and the docket fee if it finds that the appellant is indigent.

d) Stay on Appeal: In civil cases the petitioner may request the Trial Court to stay the Judgment pending action on the petition and on the appeal if the petition is granted, and either patty may request the Trial Court to grant or stay an injunction pending appeal. The court may condition a stay or injunction pending appeal on the depositing of cash or bond satisfactory to the Trial Court. The appellant's bond shall be sufficient to cover the damages awarded by the Trial Court together with interest. The cash or bond may be deposited at or after the time petition is filed. The stay shall be effective when the deposit of cash or bond is approved by the Trial Court. The appellant may petition the Court of Appeals to review any decision of the Trial Court under this section.


1.3.08 Judgment Against Surety:

Any surety to a bond thereby submits himself to the jurisdiction of the Tribal Court, and irrevocably appoints the Clerk of the Court as his agent upon whom any papers affecting his liability on the bond may be served. The liability of a surety may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of motion as the Court prescribes may be served on the Clerk of the Court who shall forthwith mail copies to the surety as his last known address.


1.3.09 Record on Appeal:

Within five (5) days after a notice of appeal is filed in a criminal case or a petition for review is filed in a civil case, the Clerk of the Tribal Court shall certify and file with the Court of Appeals all papers comprising the record of the case.


1.3.10 Briefs and Memoranda:

Within thirty (30) days after the notice of appeal is filed, or a petition for review is granted, or within such other time as the Court allows, the appellant may file a written brief; memorandum or statement in support of his appeal. An original and one copy for each respondent shall be fled with the Clerk who shall mail one copy, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to each respondent. The return receipt shall then be fled with the Clerk.

The respondent shall have fifteen (15) days after receipt of the appellant's brief; memorandum or statement, or such other time as the Court of Appeals allows, within which to file an answer brief, memorandum or statement if he desires. An original and one copy for each appellant shall be filed with the clerk who shall mail one copy, registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to each appellant. The return receipt shall be filed with the Clerk. No further briefs, memoranda or statements shall be allowed, without leave of Court.


1.3.11 Oral Argument:

The Court of Appeals shall assign all criminal cases for oral argument. The Court may in its discretion assign civil cases for oral argument or may dispose of civil cases on the briefs without argument.


CHAPTER 4. JUDGES


1.4.01 Appointment of Trial Judges:

The Tribal Council shall appoint the Chief Judge.


1.4.02 Terms of Trial Judges:

Each Trial Judge shall hold office for a term of four (4) years except in case of death, resignation, or removal for cause as hereinafter provided or of the abolition of the office. Ad Hoc Judges may be appointed on a temporary basis on such terms and conditions, as the Tribal Council shall establish m making the appointment.


1.4.03 Qualifications of Judges:

To be eligible to serve as a Judge, a person must be:

a) Twenty-Five (25) years of age or older;

b) Be of good moral character and integrity;

c) Possess a high school diploma or its equivalency;

d) Be capable of carrying out the duties of office;

e) Never have been convicted of a felony offense.

It is preferable that the Chief Judge speak and understand the Coushatta language and the English language; however, if there is no individual who meets these qualifications, then the Chief Judge shall meet all requirements that he or she can and be familiar with Coushatta customs and be familiar with the provisions of this Code, Federal law applicable to the Reservation and the Tribe and be capable of preparing the papers and reports incidental to the business of the Court.


1.4.04 Salary:

The Chief Judge of the Tribal Court and any Ad Hoc Judges and other personnel of the Coushatta Court shall be paid a salary to be determined by the Tribal Council. The salary of any Judge shall not be reduced during his or her term of office.


1.4.05 Disqualification:

A Judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned, in which he or she has any personal bias or prejudice concerning any patty, in which he or she or a member of his or her immediate family might be a witness, has any interest, or has any personal knowledge of any disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding, or has acted or is acting as a lawyer or lay counselor in the proceeding, or in which he or she might otherwise appear to be biased or prejudiced. As used in this section, immediate family shall include spouses, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and in-laws.


1.4.06 Removal of Judges:

Any Judge of the Coushatta Court may be removed from office by a majority vote of the five (5) member tribal council at a meeting of the Tribal Council for neglect of duty or gross misconduct after a hearing upon five (5) days notice at which the Judge is given all opportunity to answer all charges and present evidence in his or her defense.


1.4.07 Judges of the Appellate Court:

a) The Appellate Court shall consist of three (3) Judges who shall be appointed by the Coushatta Tribal Council to terms of three (3) years. Upon the initial the initial appointment of such judges, the terms may be for one, two, and three years respectively, in order to stagger the years in which the terms expire. Judges of the Appellate Court may be reappointed at the expiration of their term of office for consecutive three (3) year terms.

b) Any time there is more than one judge of the Trial Court, the Trial Court Judges may be designated to serve on the Appellate Court, provided however, that no such judge shall hear and participate in the appeal of any case which he has decided or presided over in the Trial Court.

c) Judge of the Appellate Court may, but need not be members of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

d) The compensation and terms of employment of judges of the Appellate Court shall be fixed by the Coushatta Tribal Council at the time of employment and shall not be altered or diminished during the term of office.

e) A Judge of the Appellate Court may be removed from office prior to the expiration of his/her term of office only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Coushatta General Council, only upon the grounds of neglect of duty or gross misconduct, and only after the holding of a public hearing at which the judge, after having been given not less than ten (10) days notice, is given the opportunity to answer all charges and present evidence in his own defense.


1.4.08 Oath of Office:

All judges appointed by the Tribal Council shall be sworn into office by the Council Secretary.


CHAPTER 5. COURT ADMINISTRATION


1.5.01 Office of Clerk of Court:

The Chief Judge shall hire a Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court shall be supervised of the Chief Judge.


1.5.02 Qualifications:

To be eligible to serve as Clerk of Court a person must:

a) Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age;

b) Be of high moral character and integrity;

c) Be a high school graduate or equivalent;

d) Never have been convicted of a felony;

e) Be physically able to carry out the duties of the office.


1.5.03 Duties:

The Clerk shall render assistance to the Court, in drafting complaints, subpoenas, warrants, notices of appeal, and any other documents incidental to the lawful functions of the Court. The Clerk shall attend, and keep written records of; all proceedings of the Court, administer oaths and collect fines, costs, fees and other moneys. The Clerk shall account to the Tribe for all moneys collected.

a) In addition to any other duties for which the Clerk of Court is responsible, the Clerk shall keep and maintain complete and accurate files and records of all documents filed with the Trial Court and all proceedings held by the Court.

b) The Clerk may make and certify to the accuracy of true and correct copies of any documents filed with the Trial Court which are otherwise available for public inspection.

c) The Clerk shall prepare, certify to the accuracy of; and transmit to the Appellate Court or for the use of the Appellate Court the record including verbatim records of hearings, of any case for which an appeal is taken, or so much of such of the record as the parties may designate.

d) The duties of the Clerk may be performed by any deputy or assistant clerks appointed, who shall have the sane powers and be subject to the sane duties and obligations as the Clerk of the Trial Court.


1.5.04 Other Court Personnel:

As may be authorized by the Tribal Council, the Judge may employ such additional Court personnel as are necessary to perform the work of the Coushatta Court, including, but not limited to, a bailiff and a Court interpreter, or a probation or parole officer, the compensation and terms of employment thereof to be fixed by the Tribal Council, provided that such other Court personnel shall be supervised by and may be removed by the Chief Judge.


1.5.05 Official Station

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Courthouse is designated as the place where current records of the court shall be kept and as the official station of the Clerk of Court.


1.5.06 Location of Filing

All pleadings, motions and other papers shall be filed with the Coushatta Tribal Court.


1.5.07 Copies of Documents

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


1.5.08 Time

All trials, both criminal and civil, shall be commenced at a designated time determined by the Court with reasonable notice of such time being given to the parties.


1.5.09 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 fled before expiration of time for responding as set out by rules of court.


1.5.10 Conduct

All court proceedings shall be conducted in a dignified and respectful manner. All persons addressing the Court, except testifying witnesses, shall rise arid speak in a clear and courteous manner.


1.5.11 Court Decorum

The following rules shall govern court decorum requiring no interference or disturbance with the proceedings of the court:

a) A Law Enforcement Officer may be appointed Court Bailiff by the Judge and the Bailiff will open each session of the court unless opened by the court clerk, and be present to keep order in the courtroom at all times.

b) The public will be permitted in the courtroom during open trial sessions except that spectators may be prohibited from entering the courtroom during the taking of testimony without specific permission of the Judge.

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

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

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

f) A flag of the United States and of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana shall be displayed in the courtroom at all times.


1.5.12 No Discussion with Judges

No witness or party to any case shall under any circumstances either before or during the trial attempt to discuss any case pending before the court with any of the judges, except in Open Court and with the opposing party present, and shall under no circumstances attempt to influence the Court's decision unless in the court at regular Court Proceedings.


1.5.13 Swearing-in Witnesses

All witnesses shall be administered an oath by the Court as follows: "Do you swear (or affirm) to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in the proceeding in which you are about to testify."


1.5.14 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 arid exhibits for the defendant marked alphabetically. In civil cases, all exhibits in the custody of the clerk, after the judgment becomes final or after final disposition of the action, shall be delivered or mailed by the clerk to the party offering the same or to his counsel at the expense of the offering party. Any exhibits refused by a party or counsel maybe destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the Clerk.


CHAPTER 6. SESSION-RULES OF COURT


1.6.01 Court Sessions

Regular sessions of the court shall be held as needed. The Court may issue court rules governing the conduct of proceedings in the Coushatta Court not inconsistent with the provisions of this Code and forms for use in preparing complaints and other documents authorized in this Code.


1.6.02 Docket

The Clerk shall keep a Docket in which shall be entered the names of each plaintiff and defendant m any proceeding, the character of the proceedings, the date of the issuance and the return date of arty process issued therein, the appearance or default of parties summoned, the date and amount of any judgement, any appeal therein, and all other proceedings therein. Any party may obtain a certified copy of such proceedings from the Clerk upon payment of the costs thereof.


CHAPTER 7. ATTORNEYS AND LAY COUNSELORS


1.7.01 Legal Representation

Any person appearing in the Tribal Court shall have the right to have legal representation, at his or her own expense, to assist in presenting his or her case, provided that such legal representative shall first have been admitted to the Tribal Court Bar. The court may appoint legal representation to assist any person if; in the discretion of the court, it appears necessary to protect such person's rights.


1.7.02 Qualifications for Admissions as Attorney or Lay Counselor:

a) Attorneys: No person may practice as an attorney before the Tribal Court or Court of Appeals unless admitted to practice and enrolled as an attorney of the Tribal Court upon written application and approval of the Chief Judge. To be eligible to practice as an attorney before the Tribal Court, a person must:

1) Show proof that he/she is a member in good standing of the Bar in any state or Federal Court;

2) Be of high moral character and integrity.

3) Take and Sign an Oath to uphold the integrity of the Court.

4) Pay application fees and annual admission fees.

The Chief Judge may make inquiry as to the attorney's knowledge of the Coushatta Code of Justice and of Federal Indian law before admitting the attorney. Each individual wishing to be admitted to practice before the Tribal Court must be recommended by an individual already admitted; provided that this requirement shall take effect once ten (10) individuals have been admitted to practice.

b) Lay Counselors: Any person who meets the equalizations established in this Section shall be eligible for admission to practice before the Court as a lay counselor upon written application and approval of the Chief Judge. To be eligible to serve as a lay counselor, a person must:

1) Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age;

2) Be of high moral character and integrity;

3) Have knowledge of the Coushatta Tribal Code and of Federal Indian law;

4) Be a high school graduate or equivalent;

5) Not have been convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction.

6) Take and sign an Oath to uphold the integrity of the Court.

7) Pay application fees and annual admission fees.


1.7.03 Oath

The oath, which all persons desiring to appear as legal representatives in the Tribal Court shall take, is:

BAR ADMISSION OATH

I, _________________________,do solemnly swear,

1. I am familiar with the laws of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

2. I will respect and obey the Constitution and By-laws of the Tribe in all respects.

3. I will abide by the rules established by the governing authority of the tribe arid the Court.

4. I will at all times maintain the respect due the Court and its officers.

5. I will not counsel or speak for any suit or proceedings which shall appear tome to be unjust, or any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law, unless it be in defense of a person charged with a public offense.

6. I will employ such means only as are consistent with truth and honor and will never seek to mislead a judge or jury by any false statements.

                                      
Bar Member

Subscribed and sworn to before me this                 day of                                  ,                       .

                                   
Judge


1.7.04 Bar Roster

The Clerk of Court will maintain a roster of persons admitted to practice before the Court. The Clerk will also keep on file the signed oaths of all such persons.


1.7.05 Bar Fees

All bar members shall pay an initial admission fee set by the bar association. Thereafter, an annual bar fee set by the bar association shall be paid by all members to remain active members of the bar. Bar members shall not be admitted to practice before the Tribal Court without such annual fee being paid. A judge may waive the Tribal Court Bar admission fee for good cause shown. The annual fee is to be used for the purpose of copying and handling costs for updates to the Judicial Code, expenses for bar meetings and to provide support for continuing legal education. The clerk of court shall keep a separate account for bar fees and dues, plus receipts for all expenditures, until such time as the Bar is organized and a Treasurer is installed, at which time all financial records shall be turned over to the Treasurer who shall then manage the finances of the Tribal Bar according to the By-laws of the organization.


1.7.06 Contempt of Court

Any bar member failing to maintain the respect due the Court or engaging in offensive conduct in the courtroom shall be deemed in contempt of court and subject to immediate sentencing by the Judge to imprisonment for a period not to exceed three (3) days, or a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) or both the jail sentence and fine.


1.7.07 Discipline and Disbarment

Any bar member violating their Oath, or having been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or violating the Rules of Professional Conduct as promulgated by the American Bar Association may be subject to discipline or disbarment. Any person or Judge witnessing a violation of a bar member's Oath or having evidence of misconduct shall prepare in writing a complaint against such bar member, including reasons for discipline or disbarment. Within (10) working days of receipt of such complaint, the Clerk of Court shall cause the Court of Appeals to convene for the purpose of holding a hearing at which time the bar member involved may present witnesses and defend his or her actions. The decision of the Court of Appeals shall be final. The procedures for appeal in this section shall be applicable for challenging contempt charges or denial of admission to the Tribal Bar.

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