San Francisco May. 20, 2010 - Chief Justice Ronald M. George today announced the appointment of the California Tribal Court/State Court Coalition, the first organization of its kind in the state.
The purpose of the coalition is to develop measures to improve the working relationship between California's tribal and state courts and to focus on areas of mutual concern. The coalition will study and provide recommendations on such areas as enforcement and recognition of protective and other kinds of orders and judgments, jurisdictional issues, and how to ensure access to justice in Indian country in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and teen-dating violence.
"Tribal and state courts share the same essential commitment to serve the public," stated Chief Justice Ronald M. George. "By developing procedures that will foster cooperation on jurisdictional issues, tribal and state courts can work together to ensure the effective and efficient administration of justice for those coming to our courts."
The coalition will be cochaired by Judge Richard C. Blake, Chief Judge of the Hoopa Tribal Court and Presiding Judge of the Smith River Rancheria Tribal Court, and Justice Richard D. Huffman, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One.
Members of the coalition include tribal court judges; state court judges; chairs of the Judicial Council's advisory committees on access and fairness, criminal law, civil and small claims, family and juvenile, and traffic; and the director of Native American Affairs for the State Attorney General's Office.
The formation of the coalition results from a historic meeting held in December 2009 where issues were discussed concerning tribal and state courts. Funding for the coalition will be provided by a federal grant.
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