Possible Pro Tem Judge

At the July 15, 2014, meeting, the Isleta Tribal Council questioned Governor Eddie Paul Torres about the failure of the Isleta Tribal Courts to hear cases in a timely manner. At a prior meeting, a tribal member complained that her case has been delayed repeatedly.

Governor Torres explained that he discussed the issue with Chief Judge Lawrence Lucero and that the Chief Judge will recommend a person to serve as a pro tem judge. Pro tem means “temporary.”

Governor Torres will select the pro tem judge and submit that person’s name to the Council for approval.  The Council will then meet with the Governor’s nominee to ask questions. The Isleta Tribal Constitution requires the Council to either confirm or reject any person nominated to serve as Tribal Court Judge by the Governor. 

Council members asked Governor Torres whether he intended to nominate a tribal member to serve as a judge because people in the community would prefer a tribal member instead of a non-Indian or non-member. Governor Torres did not indicate whether he would appoint a tribal member or not. He responded that appointing anyone is always a matter of “politics.” But, he would do what he felt was “right” and he expected that the Council would also do what they felt was “right.”

 

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By Christopher Abeita

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