General Information -
The Colville Tribal Court has existed since the 1940's and is an independent branch of the Tribal government. The trial court's Rules and Procedures for criminal cases are set forth in Chapters 1 and 2 of the Colville Tribal Law and Order Code. The Code lists criminal offenses in Chapter 3. The Court of Appeals has separately published its Rules pursuant to Amendment X (article VIII, Judiciary) to the Constitution of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
The Tribal Court consists of a trial court and the Colville Tribal Court of appeals. These two courts exercise criminal jurisdiction over Indians who violate the Colville Tribal law and Order Code while on the Tribes' nearly 1.5 million acre reservation. The Tribal Courts jurisdiction also extends to both Indians and non-Indians in civil matters that take place on the Reservation.
The trial court currently consists of a Chief Judge and two full time Associates Judges. The Tribal Court of Appeals is comprised of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. The published opinions of the Court of appeals may be accessed at: www.tribal-institute.org/lists/decision.htm
Rights of Defendants
The Right to be represented by counsel. If you cannot afford counsel, the Court will appoint one at no cost to you.
The Right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.
The Right to remain silent.
The Right at trial to hear and question witnesses who testify against
The Right to testify at trial and have witnesses testify for you. Witnesses can be made to appear at no expense to you.
The Right to be presumed innocent until the charge is proven beyond
a reasonable doubt.
The Right to appeal a finding of guilt after trial.
Maximum Penalty Fee
Class A: Up to 360 Days in Jail & a $5,000 Fine.
Class B: Up to 180 Days in Jail & a $2,500 Fine.
Class C: Up to 90 Days in Jail & a $1,000 Fine.
Motor Vehicle Offences
Class A: Up to 360 Days in Jail & a $5,000 Fine
Tribal Court Criminal Proceedings
Class B: Up to 360 Days in Jail & a $2,500 Fine
Class C: Up to 90 Days in Jail & a $500 Fine
Prosecutions under the Tribal Law & Order Code are initiated by a Complaint. The person charged may be cited and released, or arrested. If the person is cited and released they are given a date to appear for arraignment (within 15 days). If the person charged is arrested and detained, they must be brought before the court for arraignment within 72 hours of their arrest.
The Court advises the defendant of their rights and the charges against them. The defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges. Upon request, the Court will appoint a defense counsel. The Court establishes conditions for release and sets the dates for the Omnibus, Readiness/Pre-trial hearing, and trial at this time.
At the Omnibus, both sides identify their witnesses, provide notice of any motions, and raise any legal issues that require a Court decision prior to trial.
This hearing is usually held on Monday, the week that the case will be heard at a jury trial, and is held to address any unresolved issues relevant to trial of the case.
Trials are scheduled for Thursdays. Defendants may elect to have their case tried before a jury or heard by the Judge alone.
Sentencing may take place when a plea of guilty is accepted, upon a conviction, or at a later time. They are based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record.
This hearing is held to determine if the sentence and conditions of probation have been completed so that the case can be closed or the charges dismissed.
Show Cause/Status Hearing:
This hearing is set by the Court to verify compliance with probation, Court Orders, conditions of release, or for various other reasons.
The Tribal Prosecutor offers a plea bargain in many cases due to the high volume of cases in Tribal Court. The Prosecutor recommends a much more lenient sentence if a defendant pleads guilty than if the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted.
Online Court Documents
Colville Tribal Bar Membership List
Warrant Turn In Procedure