Judicial

Committee on Tribal and State Court Affairs

The Committee on Tribal and State Court Affairs is a vehicle for expanding tribal and state court judges' knowledge of the respective judicial systems; for identifying and discussing issues regarding court practices, procedures, and administration which are of common concern to members of tribal and state judicial systems; and for cultivating mutual respect for and cooperation between tribal and state judicial systems.

The Committee on Tribal and State Court Affairs is a standing committee of the North Dakota Supreme Court. The Chief Justice appoints the chair and vice-chair of the Committee.

Committee on Tribal and State Court Affairs
(18 members)

Member - Title

Agency Representing

Term

Appointed By

*State Court Judges
(4)

State Judicial Systems

three-year term

Chief Justice

Chief Tribal Judge or designee
(5)

Tribal Judicial Systems

Until replaced

Statute

Tribal Court Administrative Support Services
Representative 
(2)

Tribal Judicial Systems

one three year term

Judge members recommend 
Chief Justice appoints

State Court Administrative Support Services
Representative 
(2)

State Judicial Systems

one three year term

Judge members recommend 
Chief Justice appoints

*Public Members
(3)

Public Interest

three-year term

Chief Justice

Chief Judge or designee
(1)

U.S. District
Court for North Dakota District

Until replaced

Statute

Director or designee
(1)

Northern Plains Tribal Judicial Training Institute

Until replaced

Statute

May not serve more than three consecutive three-year terms, but is eligible for reappointment after a six-year break in service.


Duties of the Committee:

A.  The Committee shall:

1. Study the comparative operation, practices, and procedures of tribal and state judicial systems for purposes of identifying possible areas of mutually agreeable cooperative action;

2. Serve as a forum for discussion of areas of common concern shared by tribal and state judges and judicial system personnel;

3. Serve as a vehicle for establishing and maintaining a long-term, continuing relationship between tribal and state judicial systems; and

4. Review any other matters referred to it by the Supreme Court, a tribal court, or a tribal council.
 

B.  May recommend to the Supreme Court, tribal courts, or tribal councils, potential agreements, informal inter-system working relationships, education initiatives, or proposed or revised statutes or rules to resolve conflicts and to remove barriers to understanding and cooperation between tribal and state judicial systems. 

Website: http://www.ndcourts.com/court/committees/TribStat/committee.asp


North Dakota Court Improvement Project

In 2006, the Administrative Council, a Judicial Branch entity of the North Dakota Supreme Court, reestablished the Court Improvement Project Committee. The director of the Indian Affairs Commission is designated as a member of the Committee. The Project was developed under the auspices of the Administrative Council, in cooperation with North Dakota Indian tribes, to provide recommendations to the Council on Court Improvement issues. 

Purposes of the Committee:

1. To conduct assessments of the roles, responsibilities and effectiveness of state courts in carrying out state laws requiring proceedings related to foster care and adoption conducted by or under the supervision of the courts;

2. Implement improvements the highest state courts deem necessary as a result of the assessments:

a. To provide for the safety, well-being, and permanence of children in foster care as set forth by the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and any other federal or state law regarding child welfare issues.

b. To implement a corrective action plan, as necessary, resulting from reviews of child and family service programs.

3. To ensure that the safety, permanence and well-being needs of children are met in a timely and complete manner; and

4. To provide for the training of judges, attorneys and other legal personnel in child welfare cases.

Membership: 

A. The Committee consists of members appointed by the Chief Justice or as indicated:

         1. Four district court judges (one from each Administrative Unit)
         2. One judicial referee;
         3. One juvenile court director appointed by the state court administrator;
         4. One tribal court administrative personnel appointed by the state court administrator;
         5. Director of Children and Family Services Division of the Department of Human Services;
         6. One state’s attorney appointed by the State’s Attorney Association;
         7. Director of Indigent Defense Services or designee; and 
         8. Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

B. The Chief Justice appoints one of the district court judges as chair. All judicial appointees can serve up to three consecutive terms.

Court Improvement Project (CIP) – Sub-committees.

The Court Improvement Project Committee has four sub-committees.

1. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Sub-Committee. The ICWA Committee is comprised of representatives of tribal ICWA workers, tribal County Social Services, director of the Indian Affairs Commission, representative from the ND Department of Human Services, and four regional district court judges.  The Trial Court Administrator serves as chair of the ICWA Committee in the 2008, and the Assistant State Court Administrator serves as staff.

2. Guardian Ad Litem Sub-Committee.

3. Education and Training Sub-Committee.

4. Data Collections and Analysis Sub-Committee.

http://www.ndcourts.com/