Public Defender

Twenty Six

Office (509) 634-2450

The Office of the Tribal Public Defender for the Colville Confederated Tribes is one of the few dedicated criminal defense offices in Indian Country.  Neither the Indian Civil Rights Act nor the Colville Civil Rights Act require the tribes to pay for members to be represented, however the Colville Business Council has chosen to do so to better serve the membership.

Under Colville Tribal Code §2-1-100 the Tribal Public Defender’s Office shall be appointed to represent all indigent criminal defendants who request counsel.  In two circumstances:

1] When the Tribes charge a member with a crime; or
2] The Tribes take legal action to remove children from their homes.

The office can be reached by calling (509) 634-2450. 

Both the Colville Tribal Police Department and the Corrections Facility have the ability to contact us after-hours. 

Flow chart PDF


Jonnie Bray | Acting Program Manager | Email


Lead Public Defender: David Stevens Perez (Dave Stevens) | (509) 634-2451 | Email

Dave is a Navy veteran. He graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington School of Law in 1999. He also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Washington. He has practiced criminal law for 17 years. He has taken well over 100 cases to trial. He has significant appellate experience in the Washing State Court of Appeals and the Colville Court of Appeals. Prior to working for the Colville Confederated Tribes, he worked in Europe as a prosecutor for the European Union in Kosovo. Before Kosovo, he worked training judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and defense attorneys in Afghanistan. He has also worked as a Federal Prosecutor and as a Washington State Deputy Prosecutor. His full name is David Louis Stevens y Perez reflecting his dad’s Cuban heritage. Dave has been working for the Tribes since 2014.


Assistant Public Defender: Jonnie Bray | Email

Jonnie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Gonzaga University and is a Colville Tribal Member.  She has a significant history of working in the legal departments of the Tribes and has worked as prosecutor and public defender. She also has extensive appellate court experience in the Colville Court of Appeals. She is the most experienced public defender in Tribal Court. In addition to being a trial attorney, she also works as Case Manager. Jonnie also sits as a Pro Tempore Judge at Spokane Tribe of Indians.


Public Defender: Theresa Thin Elk | Email

Theresa Thin Elk is a tribal member and is the daughter of Francis and Bonnie Reyes, and the granddaughter of Modesta Shadle.  Theresa graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2000.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in both Criminal Justice and Political Science from Gonzaga University in 1995. She has practiced criminal, civil and government law throughout her career all in the interests of tribal sovereignty.  She also sits as a Pro Tempore Judge at Spokane Tribe of Indians.


Public Defender: Richard Lee | Email

Richard has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Washington.  He pursued his legal training at Gonzaga School of Law in Spokane and completed those studies in 1997. He also has a Master’s Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. During law school, he hosted a local television program in the Spokane area. He began doing trial work in both jury and bench trials in 2003.


Office Manager: Melissa Williams | Email

Mellissa Williams formally Melissa Louis runs the office. Among the many other things she does, she helps prepare our annual budget, schedules continuing legal education for staff attorneys, maintains our time keeping, keeps track of discovery, and case scheduling. For our clients tracks court ordered compliance requirements and prepares files for hearings.


Recreation, we have great fishing with well-stocked lakes, creeks and rivers.