AB 2281 would protect tribal court judges

Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria introduced Assembly Bill 2281 to enact legal protections for tribal court judges that are commensurate with those legal protections afforded to state and federal judges.

An Indian tribe in California may establish their own governmental structure and that often includes the establishment of tribal courts to adjudicate civil and criminal matters occurring within the territorial boundaries of the reservation. Currently, tribal court judges are not provided the same protections as state and federal judges.

“Tribal judges should have access to the same protections as our state and federal judges,” Soria said. “Their official status should be appropriately recognized in our laws which extend certain privacy rights and provide protections against violence. AB 2281 will provide parity to tribal court judges already enjoyed by our state and federal judges.”

“California Indian Legal Services has worked with many tribes on the development and implementation of their judicial systems, which is integral to exercising their sovereignty,” said Heather Hostler, Executive Director, California Indian Legal Services. “AB 2281 would remedy the disparity under California state law that does not grant Tribal Court Judges the same protections as other judicial officers.”

AB 2281 – Tribal Court Judges: Protection and parity with state and federal judges
This bill will grant a tribal court judge of a federally recognized California Indian Tribe the right to have their residence address, telephone number, and email address appearing on the affidavit of voter registration maintained confidential, under certain conditions.

AB 2281 also grants a tribal judge of a federally recognized Indian tribe the right to request the Department of Motor Vehicles maintain their home address confidential.

Finally, AB 2281would make a person who commits an assault on a judge or former judge of a tribal court of record, in retaliation for or to prevent the performance of their official duties, punishable by imprisonment, as specified.