Judge Renee Torres Off the Bench: Temporary or Permanent?

sjControl of the Tribal Court

Yesterday, Isleta Pueblo Politics reported that the 2013-2014 Isleta Tribal Council enacted a Resolution that excluded Judge Renee Torres from continuing to serve as a Judge with the Isleta Tribal Court for 2015.

As an update, the following link provides the Council’s Resolution #2014-087, “Appointing Lawrence Lucero and Joseph Little as pro tem Tribal Court Judges until Judges are Seated for the 2015-2016 Term.” 

The Council Resolution means that effective on January 1, 2015, Judge Torres no longer has any judicial authority.  So, she cannot conduct hearings or enter any rulings on behalf of the Tribal Court.  See article post: Outgoing Council Excludes Judge Renee Torres for 2015.

In relevant part, the Tribal Constitution states:

“. . . [the] term of office of the judge or judges of the tribal court shall be prescribed by ordinance of the council; . . .1)Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. IX, Section 3.

The Tribal Judges Ordinance states:

“The term of office for each Tribal Judge shall coincide with the term of office of the appointing Governor.2)Resolution #2010-123, “Enacting a Tribal Judges Ordinance, Article II, Paragraph D(1).

So, the term of office for all current Tribal Court Judges would have expired at midnight on January 5, 2015, because that is when the term of office for Governor Torres expires.  The Constitution states:

“[t]he term of all executive officers and council members shall be two (2) years beginning on January 6 following each general election at the pueblo. . . .3)Isleta Tribal Constitution, Art. VI, Section 12.

The outgoing Council, however, modified the term of office for the Tribal Judges by enacting Resolution #2014-087, which states:

“Be it further resolved, that to the extent that this Resolution is inconsistent with any prior resolution of the Pueblo, this Resolution shall govern and apply, and such conflicting prior resolution is hereby superseded and repealed.”4)Resolution #2014-087.

So, Resolution #2014-087, “repealed” Resolution #2010-123. This means that the “Tribal Judges Ordinance” is no longer in effect. It has no legal force.

Despite the legal mumbo jumbo, the ultimate questions are:

  • Will Governor Eddie Paul Torres reappoint his daughter Renee Torres to the Tribal Court as Chief Judge for the 2015-2016 term?
  • Will the new Tribal Council vote in favor of confirming Renee Torres as the Chief Judge?

We will find out on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at the Isleta Tribal Council meeting at 9:00 a.m. At this meeting, Governor Eddie Paul Torres must present the incoming Council with his requested appointments to the Isleta Tribal Court. 

Outgoing Council Excludes Judge Renee Torres for 2015

References   [ + ]

What are your thoughts?