January 25th Oral Arguments Will Be Open To The Public
On Friday, January 25th at 10 a.m., the Colville Tribal Court of Appeals will be hearing oral arguments at Gonzaga University School of Law Barbieri Courtroom. The hearing is a part of Gonzaga Law’s Centennial celebration and is open to the public. The Panel will ask if the lower tribal court abused the power of discretion in blocking further prosecution of a dismissed case.
All three of the justices that will be presiding on this case are graduates of Gonzaga School of Law.
The Highest Court in Action
“The chance to see the highest court of the Confederated Colville Tribes in action is a unique one for both our students and the community,” explained Jane Korn, Dean of Gonzaga Law. “All of our students learn about the state and federal courts but this is an incredible opportunity for them to see a tribal court of appeals in action and to learn from that experience.” The Barbieri Courtroom displays the bronze seals of nine local tribes, installed in 2004.
Two Cases Address Discretionary Power
The case being heard, Colville Confederated Tribes v. G. Stensgar / C. Signor, case No AP12-007/008, addresses an issue of the discretionary power of a judge when a complaint is not filed within 72 hours of arrest.
In two separate cases, defendants were arrested, cited, and appeared in court as they promised to do when posting bail. The prosecutor, who did not receive documents from the jail, was not prepared to proceed. The judge dismissed the case “with prejudice”, which means that the prosecutor would not be allowed to prosecute the defendants for those crimes at a later date. The prosecutor’s office appealed the decision, arguing that the decision, which blocks the cases from further prosecution, was an abuse of the court’s discretionary power.
About The Court of Appeals
The Colville Tribal Court of Appeals has been in existence for over 50 years. In 1995, the court became a constitutionally separate branch of the Colville Tribal government and is the highest court for issues of Colville Tribal law. The court hears between 15 and 25 appeals from the lower courts each year.
The Court of Appeals last visited Gonzaga Law School in February of 2009 for an en banc panel (a case heard in front of all justices of the court) on a criminal case.
This year marks Gonzaga Law School’s Centennial and Gonzaga University’s 125th anniversary. Many events are planned throughout the year to mark the anniversaries.
For more information, please contact Andrea Parrish, Digital Media Specialist at Gonzaga University School of Law at 509-313-3771 or via e-mail