Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Patricia Lenzi – Chief Judge
Irene Kellywood-Esquerra – Clerk of the Court
The Chemehuevi Indian Tribal Court was first established as a “Magistrate Court” in the mid-1980s to hear cases stemming from violations of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe’s Conservation Code, which governs the preservation and conservation of the Tribe’s/Chemehuevi Indian Reservation’s natural resources.
In 1994, the tribe enacted an ordinance establishing the Chemehuevi Indian Tribal Court, a court of limited jurisdiction; however, the Court did not become active until the latter part of 1996.
The Chemehuevi Tribal Court, the Tribe’s judicial branch of government, provides Tribal and community members many services and a forum for their legal issues and requests. Some of the many topics the Court handles are listed below:
•Adopting Children •Animal Control •Child Welfare Cases (Protecting Abused and/or Neglected Children) •Dissolving Marriages •Domestic Violence Restraining Orders •Guardianships Over Children •Name Changes •Small Claims •Unlawful Detainer (Evictions from Tribal Housing)
No. The Court has jurisdiction over the Tribe’s members as well as the Tribe’s lands and the actions and conduct of people living on, occupying, and using that law and the Tribe’s resources.
The Chemehuevi Tribal Court hears a variety of cases on many different topics including but not limited to domestic violence restraining orders, adoptions, name changes, legal guardianships, dissolving marriages, unleashed dogs, and unlawful detainer.
If you have a question about our work, please contact the Court Clerk by phone at (760) 858-4219, Extension 30 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you receive a lawsuit, often called a complaint, it is important to act quickly because Chemehuevi Tribal law sometimes requires you to respond in a certain time frame. Usually, the person being sued must file a response called an answer. Contact the Court Clerk to ask about how and when to respond.
Yes. The Chemehuevi Tribal Court requires people interested in using the Court’s services to put their requests in writing on court forms, if available. The Court is in the process of developing special easy-to-use forms for all of its work.
Current forms are available on the Court’s webpage below, or through the Court Clerk at (760) 858-4219, Extension 30 or by email at email@example.com.
Court forms and papers often use special labels to refer to parties to a case. A person who files a lawsuit or requests special action from the Court is usually referred to as the “Plaintiff” or “Petitioner.” The person being sued or asked to do something is known as the “Defendant” or “Respondent.”
Don’t be nervous. If you are a party to or witness in a case, the Court asks all people present for hearings to be respectful, speak one at a time, and address the Court in a clear voice without cursing. The judge will likely ask you and your lawyer (if you have one) questions about the case. Keep in mind that everything said in court is recorded.
All parties and witnesses must take an oath to tell the truth at the beginning of each hearing and will have an opportunity to address the Court.
No. All parties who have a case in the Chemehuevi Tribal Court are entitled to be represented by a lawyer but it is not required. Parties can represent themselves if they feel comfortable doing so. People who cannot find or afford a lawyer are welcome to have an advocate or spokesperson attend court with them.
The Tribe does not provide attorneys for Tribal members.
The current staff of the Chemehuevi Tribal Court consists of two people, a Chief Judge and a Court Clerk, who assists with the day-to-day functions of the court and works with parties on how to file documents.
The Court Clerk cannot provide legal advice to parties. Sometimes Chemehuevi Conservation Officers act as “bailiffs” in Court to keep the peace and protect all parties.
Generally, no. It is unethical and improper under Chemehuevi law for people to discuss a case with the judge outside of a court hearing. In order to be fair and follow Chemehuevi law and court rules, parties and their attorneys can only speak to the judge on the record.
Everything said in court, and everything filed in a case, becomes part of the official court record of a case.