Isleta Tribal Court Judges
The Isleta Tribal Constitution allows a Governor to appoint Tribal Court Judges with the concurrence of a two-thirds majority of the the Isleta Tribal Council.1)Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. IX, Section 2.
The term of office for the Tribal Court Judges coincides with the term of office with the Governor that appoints them.2)Isleta Tribal Council Resolution #2010-123, “Enacting a Tribal Judges Ordinance,” Art. II, Paragraph D(1); See also Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. IX, Section 3.
According to the Constitution, a Governor’s term of office begins on January 6th following a general election.3)Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. VI, Section 12. This means that an outgoing Governor’s term of office would expire on January 5th at midnight. Thus, the term of office for the current Tribal Court Judges would also expire at midnight on January 5th. So, Governor Eddie Paul Torres must present his requested appointments to the new Council no later than January 6th.
The 2013-2014 Tribal Council enacted a resolution to protect against judicial vacancies with the Isleta Tribal Court. Essentially, the resolution retains Chief Judge Lawrence “Larry” Lucero and Associate Judge Joseph Little as pro tem (temporary) judges until Governor Torres submits his appointments to the new Council for consideration. This means that Chief Judge Lucero and Associate Judge Little will remain judges by default for 2015, if Governor Torres or the new Council fails to act in appointing and confirming any lower court judges.
Interestingly, the 2013-2014 Council did not include Judge Renee Torres in their resolution to protect against judicial vacancies with the lower court for 2015. Judge Renee Torres is the daughter of Governor Eddie Paul Torres.
Isleta Appellate Court Justices
The 2013-2014 Isleta Tribal Council appointed Francine Jaramillo to serve as a Justice of the Isleta Appellate Court. Jaramillo accepted the appointment. The Council did not re-appoint William Johnson or Christine Zuni-Cruz for another term.
Associate Justices Tony Lucero and Roshanna Toya-Lucero will remain on the high Court.
The Governors of the Pueblo do not have any authority over the Justices of the Isleta Appellate Court because the Isleta Tribal Council delegated its appellate authority to the Isleta Appellate Court.4)Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. IX, Section 6. This means the Appellate Court Justices are exercising the authority that the Constitution designated to the Tribal Council.
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