A Primer on Tribal Court Contempt Power
42 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008
Date Written: May 19, 2008
Supreme Court doctrine bars tribal courts from exercising criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, but tribal courts often are the only practical mechanism available to protect Indian women from non-Indian domestic violence. Congress recognized this fact in the Violence Against Women Act by noting that tribal courts may use their civil contempt power to enforce personal protection orders originating in foreign jurisdictions.
This short paper describes the civil contempt power of tribal courts, and how tribal courts have used this power. The paper concludes with a short analysis of the implications of federal Indian law on tribal court authority to issue civil contempt citations to non-Indians.
This is a paper prepared for the Michigan Indian Judges Association quarterly meeting, held on May 16, 2008, at the Bay Mills Indian Community.
Keywords: tribal courts, federal Indian law, Violence Against Women Act, personal protection orders, domestic violence, due process
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation