San Manuel Tribal Court

Tribal Court Seal

The San Manuel Tribal Court was established under the San Manuel Judicial Code in 2003. After several years of development, the court opened on October 23, 2009.

The Tribal Court exercises general civil jurisdiction over tribal citizens and persons who have consented to tribal jurisdiction, either expressly or implicitly by entering the San Manuel Reservation or engaging in contractual relations with the Tribe. The Tribal Court does not hear gaming-related disputes, which are handled in accordance with the Tribal-State Compact.

The San Manuel Tribal Court consists of the Trial Court and the Appellate Court. The Trial Court's Chief Judge acts as the Chief Administrator of both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court.

The Chief Judge and Appellate Judges are appointed by the General Council, in consultation with the Judiciary Committee. Pro-Tempore Judges (temporary judges) are appointed by the Business Committee, in consultation with the Judiciary Committee and the Chief Judge.

Trial Court

Pro Tem Judge - Robert Clinton

Bob

Judge Clinton

Robert N. Clinton currently serves as the Foundation Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and as an Affiliated Faculty member of the ASU American Indian Studies Program. He is also a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Law Science & Innovation. He is also an Affiliated Faculty member of the ASU Center on the Future of War. Professor Clinton was born and raised in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan where he received a B.A. in political science and attended the University of Chicago Law School, receiving his J.D. After private practice in Chicago with the law firm then known as Devoe, Shadur and Krupp, he joined the faculty of the University of Iowa College of Law in 1973, where he taught until 2000. While at the University of Iowa College of Law, Professor Clinton served as the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law and as a founder and an Affiliated Faculty Member of the American Indian and Native Studies Program of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts. For the 2001-2003 academic years, Professor Clinton was appointed the Barry Goldwater Chair of American Institutions at Arizona State University.

Pro Tem Judge - Claudette C. White

Claudette

Judge White

Claudette C. White, is an enrolled member of the Quechan Indian Tribe located in Winterhaven, CA and Yuma, AZ. She has been on the bench for (11) years serving the Quechan Indian Tribe as Chief Judge and also sitting as a pro tem judge in the following court's in the trial divisions and appellate; Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Tribe, Tonto Apache Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe. She has worked to help ensure justice by collaborating with local and neighboring jurisdictions and by working with stakeholders to develop new alternatives and by making efforts to educate state counterparts about tribal courts to ensure tribal court recognition and to strengthen comity. Judge White is a 1995 graduate of Northern Arizona University having majored in Criminal Justice and received her J.D. in 2005 from the Sandra Day O'Conner School of Law at Arizona State University with a special certificate in Federal Indian Law. She serves as an appointed member to the California Tribal and State Court Forum and the Arizona Tribal, State, Federal Court Forum as well as the California Child Welfare Council. Judge White has been working to incorporate concepts of restorative justice in court by utilizing tribal custom and tradition and focuses on alternatives to standard punitive measures.

Pro Tem Judge - Joseph J. Wiseman

Joseph

Judge Wiseman

Judge Joseph J. Wiseman graduated from the U.C.L.A. and the University of Oregon School of Law. He serves as the Chief Justice of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, the Chief Judge of the Northern California Intertribal Court System, and the Chief Judge of the Tule River Tribe. He also serves as Judge Pro Tem for the Karuk Tribe.

Judge Wiseman is an active member of the National American Indian Court Judges Association, where he serves on the Board of Directors Steering Committee, and is the Vice-President of the California Tribal Court Judges Association. He also is a member of the California Tribal-State Court Forum, and the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association.

Judge Wiseman has been teaching Federal Indian Law at the Empire College School of in Santa Rosa, California for over fifteen years, and has presented at numerous professional conferences in the areas of tribal court jurisdiction, the Indian Child Welfare Act, and Indian water rights. Before becoming a Tribal Court judge, Judge Wiseman practiced complex criminal and civil litigation in the federal trial and appellate courts nationwide.

Appellate Court

The Appellate Court of the San Manuel Tribal Court hears appeals from final judgments and other final orders of the Trial Court. The Appellate Court is comprised of a three-judge appellate panel.

Appellate Judge – Michael Taylor

Judge Taylor

Judge Taylor was appointed to the Appellate Court in September 2009.

Judge Taylor obtained his law degree from the University of California at Davis in 1969. He is a member of the bars of the Tulalip Tribes, the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribes, the Colville Confederated Tribes, California, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon and the Supreme Court of the United States. He sits as an Appellate Judge for the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota.

Judge Taylor resides in Washington State where he is employed as general counsel for the Tulalip Tribes of Washington.

 

Appellate Judge - Deborah DuBray

Judge DuBray

Judge DuBray was appointed to the Appellate Court in September 2009.

Deborah DuBray is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe located in South Dakota. Judge DuBray obtained both her Juris Doctorate and Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in 1993. She is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota and is licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.

Judge DuBray served as a Legislative Aide in the United States Senate prior to entering private practice. She established the DuBray Law Office in 1997 to represent Native clients and tribal interests and continues to represent clients in South Dakota. Judge DuBray served as Chief Judge for other tribal courts over the past six years in North Dakota, Minnesota and Oregon.

Appellate Judge - Job Serebrov

Judge Serebrov

 

Job Serebrov is currently the director of the Office of Quality Assurance, Arkansas Department of Human Services. Prior to that, he was the principal of The Serebrov Law Firm. His areas of practice and consulting included appeals and agricultural, environmental, natural resource, regulatory, and bioenergy law and policy. Aside from his legal practice, Job served as a law clerk to U.S. Circuit Court Judge Lavenski Smith, held an appointment under Gov. Mike Huckabee as deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and held an appointment under President George W. Bush as a deputy under secretary/deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, primarily handling environmental and natural resource regulatory matters and served as acting deputy general counsel at American Farm Bureau. 

 

 

Alternate Appellate Judge - Anthony Little

Judge Little

Judge Anthony Little is a member of the Sichangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). He is a 1976 graduate of the Arizona State College of Law and is admitted to practice in New Mexico since 1979. He was a staff attorney for Indian Pueblo legal Services, Inc. and Executive Director prior to entering private practice in Albuquerque, NM in 1994. He is admitted to practice in many of the Tribes in New Mexico. He has been a judge for tribes in New Mexico. He was the Chief Magistrate for the Fort Mojave Indian Community, 2007-2009 and is currently the Chief Judge for Ak-Chin Indian Community and an Appellate Judge for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Parties and prospective parties to Tribal Court actions may request copies of applicable Tribal laws by submitting a Request for Tribal Ordinances form to the Clerk of the Court for processing.  Such requests are decided by the Judiciary Committee on a case-by-case basis.  To obtain a copy of this request form, click here or contact the Clerk of the Court.

A party or prospective party may review a copy of applicable Tribal laws at the Tribal Court prior to completing the Request for Tribal Ordinances.  To do so, contact the Clerk of the Court to schedule an appointment.

Tribal members may obtain a copy of Tribal laws at the Tribal Court upon showing proof of Tribal membership to the Clerk of the Court.

The following tribal court rules have been approved for release on this website:

  • Please click here for the current Schedule of Court fees.
  • Please click here for the current Schedule of Animal Control Fees.

Parties filing documents by electronic mail may send court documents to tribalcourtfilings@sanmanuel.com in PDF format with the case number and the name of the document in the subject line. The Clerk of the Court shall deliver written confirmation to the filing party of the date and time the email program recorded receipt of the filing. Applicable filing fees for documents filed electronically shall be delivered to the court within five (5) Court Days of the written confirmation provided by the Court clerk. Electronic Filings received after the Court’s scheduled business hours shall be deemed to have been received as of the next business day.

San Manuel Tribal Court

  • San Manuel Indian Reservation
  • 3214 Victoria Avenue
  • Highland, CA 92346
  • Phone: (909) 907-6920
  • Fax: (909) 425-1894

Hours of Operation

  • Summer Hours Monday through Thursday
  • 9:00am – 5:00pm

Holidays

Holiday Date Observed
New Year's Day Monday, January 2, 2017
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday, January 16, 2017
President's Day Monday, February 20, 2017
Memorial Day Monday, May 29, 2017
Independence Day Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Labor Day Monday, September 4, 2017
California Native American Day Friday, September 22, 2017
Veteran's Day (observed) Friday, November 10, 2017
Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 23, 2017
Native American Heritage Day Friday, November 24, 2017
Christmas Eve (observed) Friday, December 22, 2017
Christmas Day Monday, December 25, 2017

 

Prohibition Against Ex Parte Communications

Generally, parties to any civil action, their attorneys or advocates, and witnesses may not communicate with the Tribal Court Judge, whether in person, by phone or in writing, about any action pending before the Tribal Court outside the presence of any opposing party or without serving the opposing party with a copy of any written communication in advance. This prohibition also extends to actions not yet pending but that will be filed in the Tribal Court. There are some exceptions to this rule but only where such “ex parte” hearings and orders are authorized by Tribal law.