Home

Back to Table of Contents

Hopi Indian Tribe, Law and Order Code

Last updated: 1991

ORDINANCE 21


Hopi Indian Tribe
Oraibi, Arizona
July 10, 1972

To provide for the establishment of Hopi Tribal Courts and for the appointment of judges thereof; to define the jurisdiction, power, and duties of tribal courts; to provide for jury trials, subpoenaing witnesses; to provide for representation of parties to an action; to provide for a police force; to establish a tribal policy for cooperation and assistance of federal and state governments; and to provide a criminal code.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE HOPI TRIBAL COUNCIL ASSEMBLED, by virtue of its inherent authority as a sovereign American Indian Tribe possessed of the powers of local self government in the administration of justice for the Indians on the Hopi Reservation in the State of Arizona, such internal sovereignty so vested in said Tribe having been recognized and approved by Act of Congress of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984, as amended), and pursuant to the powers of the Hopi Tribal Council as enumerated in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Hopi Tribe, State of Arizona, Article VI, Section 1(G), that Hopi Tribal Courts are hereby established with duties and powers as hereinafter defined, together with a police force and a Criminal Code.


TITLE I

ESTABLISHMENT OF COURTS AND APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES


Chapter 1. JUDICIAL POWER

1.1.1 JUDICIAL POWER. The judicial power of the Hopi Indian Tribal Court of the Hopi-Reservation, State of Arizona, shall be vested in one Appellate Court and such other inferior courts as the Hopi Tribal Council may from time to time establish.

1.1.2 ABOLISHMENT OF COURT OF INDIAN OFFENSES. The heretofore existing Hopi Tribal Court .of Indian Offenses duly constituted pursuant to 25 C.F.R.,Section 11.1, et seq., is hereby abolished. All cases pending in the Hopi Tribal Court of Indian Offenses upon the effective date of this ordinance shall be transferred to the Hopi Tribal Court.

Chapter 2. APPELLATE COURT

1.2.1 HOW CONSTITUTED. The Appellate Court of the Hopi Tribe shall consist of three judges, all of which shall be appointed by the Tribal Chairman with the approval of the Tribal Council, for such terms as the chairman shall deem reasonable and proper.

1.2.2 QUALIFICATIONS. Any individual who is a graduate of an accredited school of law and who is over the age of 30 years and has never been convicted of a felony shall be eligible to be appointed a judge of the Appellate Court of the Hopi Tribe. (Amended H-I3-76)

1.2.3 TERMS OR SESSIONS. Terms or sessions of the Appellate Court shall be held when any case to be retried by the Appellate Court has been on the Appellate Court calendar for sixty days, or when three or more cases are on the Appellate Court calendar ready for trial, whichever is sooner.

1.2.4 CHIEF JUDGE. The Hopi Tribal Chairman shall designate one of the three judges as the chief judge to preside at all proceedings for the term or session. The chief judge shall hold such position until the expiration of his appointment

1.2.5 JURISDICTION. The Appellate Court of the Hopi Tribe shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments and other final orders of the Tribal Court of the Hopi Tribe, except in criminal cases where the defendant is sentenced to less than thirty days imprisonment or labor and/or to pay a fine of less than $50.00. In such cases, there shall be no right of appeal.

1.2.6 WRITS OR ORDERS. The Appellate Court shall have , power to issue any writs or orders necessary and proper to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction, or to prevent or remedy any act of the Trial Court beyond such Court’s jurisdiction, or to cause a Trial Court to act where the Trial Court unlawfully fails or refuses to act within its jurisdiction.

1.2.7 SALARIES. The Hopi Tribal Chairman is empowered with the consent of the Tribal Council to employ judges for the Appellate Court for such a salary and upon such conditions as to the Tribal Chairman shall seem .reasonable and proper.

1.2.8 CERTIFIED QUESTIONS OF HOPI LAW.

(a) The Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals shaft have Jurisdiction to answer questions of Hopi tribal taw, including Hopi constitutional law, certified from any tribal, federal, or state court or from any tribal, federal or state administrative agency.

(b) The Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to answer questions of Hopi constitutional law, certified to it by the Hopi Tribal Council.

(c) The Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals shall expedite consideration of any certified questions of law. In the exercise of sound discretion-, the Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals may decline to answer questions certified to it.

(d) The Hopi Tribal Court of Appeals may issue rules or administrative orders appropriate to the processing of certified questions.


Chapter 3. TRIAL COURTS

1.3.1 ESTABLISHMENT. A Trial Court is hereby established for the Hopi Tribe.

1.3.2 COMPOSITION. The Trial Court of the Hopi Tribe shall consist of one Chief Judge and two associate judges who shall be appointed by the Hopi Tribal Chairman, with the approval of the Tribal Council, for one year probationary terms. The Hopi Tribal Chairman may nominate any person who has satisfactorily served one year as a probationary judge to be a permanent judge of the Trial Court of the Hopi Tribe, aced, with the approval of the Tribal Council, may appoint such person as a permanent judge.

1.3.3 QUALIFICATIONS OF CHIEF JUDGE. Any person (Hopi Preference) admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, or any United States Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court of any state of the United States who is over the age of 30 years and who has sever been convicted of a felony, or, within the year just past, of a misdemeanor, shall be eligible to be appointed Chief Judge of the Tribal Court of the Hopi Tribe. The work status of the position shall be full-time. (Amended H-13-76; H-14-90)

1.3.4 ASSOCIATE TRIAL JUDGES. Any member of the Hopi Tribe of Indians over the age of 25 years who has never been convicted of a felony or, within the year just past, of a misdemeanor, shall be eligible to be appointed probationary associate judge of the Trial Court of the Hopi Tribe. All probationary associate judges must successfully complete a course of training as a prerequisite to be nominated-by the Tribal Chairman for a permanent appointment. (Amended H-54-76)

1.3.5 SALARIES. All judges of the Trial Court of the Hopi Tripe shall be compensated upon an hourly basis to be determined by the Hopi Tribal Council for actual time spent by such judge in the performance of his duties. Each Trial judge shall submit a voucher every three months or more often as circumstances mar require, to the Hopi Tribal Council for approval and payment.

1.3.6 PRO-TEM JUDGE. The Hopi Tribal Chairman may at times as required, appoint a Pro-Tem Judge for a short .period, not to exceed thirty (30) days in the absence of both the- Chief Judge and Associate Judges) who may or may not be a member of the Hopi Tribe with the other requirements, but also who already is a sitting judge elsewhere, with or without the approval of the Tribal Council. (Added H-36-79)

Chapter 4. EXPENSES OF JUDGES

1.4.1 EXPENSES. The expenses incurred by any of the Appellate or Trial Judges in the execution of the duties of said judge including food, travel, and lodging shall be paid on the basis of vouchers submitted to the Hopi Tribal Council reflecting actual expenses. When Court is held in the town where such judges resides, no travel expenses shall be allowed.

Chapter 5. DISQUALIFICATION & REMOVAL OF JUDGES

1.5.1 DISQUALIFICATION & REMOVAL. No judge shall hear or determine an appeal from the decision of a case or issue tried by him. No judge shall hear or determine any case on original trial or appeal when he has a direct interest in the outcome of the case or is related to one of the litigants in the trial within the second degree of lineal consanguinity. Any litigant may raise any question of qualification of the judge. No person shall be appointed or serve as a Trial or an Appellate judge who has been found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor involving dishonesty in any Indian Court, State or Federal Court. Appellate and Trial judges may be removed for cause by the Hopi Tribal Council, but only after a hearing before said Council on written charges delivered to the judge sought to be removed at least five days before the hearing.

Chapter 6. VACANCIES

1.6.1 VACANCIES. All vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

Chapter 7. JURISDICTION

1.7.1 JURISDICTION - CIVIL.

a. The Hopi Tribal Court shall have jurisdiction over all civil actions where there are sufficient contacts with the Hopi Indian Reservation upon which to base the exercise ofjurisdiction, consistent with the constitution and laws of the Hopi Tribe and the United States. It is the intent of this section to authorize the broadest exercise of jurisdiction consistent with these limitations.

b. The Hopi Tribal Court shall have all powers and may issue all writs, judgements or any ether order necessary to the complete and effective exercise of its jurisdiction.

c. In the exercise of its civil jurisdiction, the acts of the Hopi Tribal Court shall be construed as being remedial and for the purpose of obtaining complete and effective compliance with ail applicable laws for the peace, health, safety and welfare of all residents and other persons having contacts with the Hopi Reservation.

d. Any person, whether or not a member of the Hopi Indian Tribe or a resident of the Hopi Indian Reservation, or other legal entity who in person or through an agent commits any of the acts hereinafter enumerated, thereby submits to the civil jurisdiction of the Hopi Tribal Court as to any cause of action relating to such act:

    1. The transaction or doing of any business within the Reservation;
    2. The commission of a torturous act within the Reservation;
    3. The ownership, use or possession of any real or personal property within the Reservation;
    4. Contracting to insure any person, property or risk residing or located within the Reservation at the time of contracting or at the time the acts occur which are the basis of the civil action;
    5. Contracting with the Hopi Tribe, a member of the Hopi Tribe, or any other person-or other legal entity for the sale or purchase of any goods or services knowing or under circumstances where it reasonably should have known that such contract is to be performed or is in fact performed on or from within the Hopi Reservation; and
    6. Any other acts or conduct which establish such minimal contacts with the Hopi Indian Reservation or with the Hopi Tribe so that the exercise of civil jurisdiction by the Hopi Tribal Court would not be contrary to traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. (Revised H-92-91)

1.7.2 CRIMINAL JURISDICTION. The Trial Court shall have original jurisdiction of all offenses committed in violation of any ordinance of the Hopi Tribe when committed by an Indian, within the exterior boundaries of the 1882 Executive Order Reservation, the Villages of Moencopi and surrounding range and . farmlands occupied or used by Hopi Indians, and such other lands as from time to time may be added to the Hopi Reservation.

1.7.3 EXCLUSION OF PERSONS. The Trial Court shall have original jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of any lawful ordinance of the Hopi Tribe providing for the exclusion from the Reservation of persons not legally entitled to reside therein.

1.7.4 REGULATION OF TRADE & PROPERTY USE. The Trial Court shall have original jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of any lawful ordinance of the Hopi Tribe regulating the conduct of trade and the use and disposition of property upon the Reservation.

1.7.6 JUVENILE MATTERS. The Trial Court shall sit as the Tribal Juvenile Court and exercise the jurisdiction of said Court as hereafter provided by ordinance.

Chapter 8. POWERS & DUTIES OF TRIBAL COURTS

1.8.1 POWERS. The Appellate and Trial courts shall have the following powers:

a. To preserve and enforce order in its immediate presence.

b. To enforce order in the proceedings before it, or before a person empowered to conduct a judicial investigation under its authority.

c. To provide for the orderly conduct of proceedings before it or its officers.

d. To compel obedience to its judgments, orders, and process, and to the orders of a judge out of court, in an action or proceeding pending therein.

e. To control in furtherance of justice the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a judicial proceeding before it ,in every matter pertaining thereto.

f. To compel the attendance of persons to testify in any action or proceedings pending therein, in the cases and manner provided by law.

g. To administer oaths in an action or proceedings pending therein, and in all other cases where it may be necessary in the exercise of its powers and duties.

h. To amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conformable to law and justice.

i. To devise and make new process and forms of proceedings, consistent with law, necessary to carry, into effect the powers and jurisdiction possessed by it.

1.8.2 DUTIES. It is the duty of the Tribal Courts to hear and determine all cases before it in a fair and impartial manner and to discretely exercise the powers in it vested, to the end that justice may be administered and law and order maintained.

1.8.3 ROLES OF COURT. The time and place of Court sessions of both the Trial and Appellate Courts and all other details of judicial procedure not prescribed in this Code shall be laid down by the chief judge of each Court respectively, in rules of Court approved by the Tribal Council and concurred in by the agency superintendent who shall be the duty of the chief judge of both the Appellate and Trial Courts to make recommendations to the Tribal council for the enactment or amendment .of such rules of Court in the best interest of improved. judicial procedure.

Chapter 9. OFFICERS OF THE TRIBAL COURTS

1.9.1 OFFICERS. Officers of the Tribal Court include:

a. Clerk of the Court and any deputies, probation officers, referees, or masters.

b. Enforcement officers, including all regularly employed police officers of the Hopi Tribe, special officers, policemen, conservation officers, and rangers.

c. Attorneys who are members of the Bar of the Hopi Tribe.

d. Bailiff.

e. Prosecutor.

1.9.2 AUTHORITY OF PROSECUTOR APPOINTED BY TRIBE. In any and all criminal proceedings in any and all Hopi Tribal Courts, the Hopi Tribe shall appoint a person to act as prosecutor who shall have power and authority to sign, file, and present any and all complaints, subpoenas, affidavits, motions, processes, and papers of any kind and to appear before all Courts, Commissions, or Tribunals in any criminal proceedings of the Hopi Tribe.

1.9.3 APPEARANCE OF ATTORNEYS.

    1. Attorneys may appear. Attorneys if qualified, may appear before the Hopi Tribal courts in criminal cases.
    2. Qualification of Attorneys. Attorneys may become a member of the Bar of the Hopi Tribal courts provided that they are admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States or a United States Circuit Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona.
    3. License. Any attorney eligible as provided in Section 1.9.3 why desires to practice in the Hopi Tribal Courts shall, prior to entering his appearance in a case in said Courts, obtain a license from the Hopi Tribe authorizing his practice before the Tribal Courts, and shall pay a fee of Ten Dollars ($10.00) for said license.
    4. Dignity & Ethics. Any applicant for a license to become a member of the Bar of the Hopi Tribal Courts prior to the issuance of said license shall agree that he will conform to the usual standards of conduct of the American Bar Association in the performance of his duties as an attorney before the Hopi Tribal Courts.
    5. Contempt. In the event that an attorney is found guilty of contempt before any Court or contempt outside the presence of any Court, the Tribal judge may levy a penalty for said contempt not to exceed the sum of Fifty Dollars ($50.00), and if said attorney fails to pay said fine as provided by any judgment of any Court therefor, he shall be disqualified to practice before any Court.
    6. Attorney’s fees. Attorneys practicing before the Hopi Tribal Courts may charge reasonable fees, which fees shall be fixed and approved by the Tribal Courts.

1.9.4 LAY COUNSEL. Lay counsel shall be permitted to practice before the Hopi Tribal Courts in criminal matters only when the defendant has knowingly waived his right to counsel.

Back to Table of Contents

Back to Top

Home  |   Search  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy Statement  |   Site Map