Tribal Court Criminal Proceedings

Complaint: Prosecutions under the Tribal Law & Order Code are initiated by a Complaint. The person charged may be cited and released, or arrested. If the person is cited and released they are given a date to appear for arraignment (within 15 days). If the person charged is arrested and detained, they must be brought before the court for arraignment within 72 hours of their arrest.

Arraignment: The Court advises the defendant of their rights and the charges against them. The defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charges. Upon request, the Court will appoint a defense counsel. The Court establishes conditions for release and sets the dates for the Omnibus, Readiness/Pre-trial hearing, and trial at this time.

Omnibus Hearing: At the Omnibus, both sides identify their witnesses, provide notice of any motions, and raise any legal issues that require a Court decision prior to trial.

Readiness/Pre-Trial Hearing: This hearing is usually held on Monday, the week that the case will be heard at a jury trial, and is held to address any unresolved issues relevant to trial of the case.

Trial: Trials are scheduled for Thursdays. Defendants may elect to have their case tried before a jury or heard by the Judge alone.

Sentencing: Sentencing may take place when a plea of guilty is accepted, upon a conviction, or at a later time. They are based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record.

Predismissal Hearing: This hearing is held to determine if the sentence and conditions of probation have been completed so that the case can be closed or the charges dismissed.

Show Cause/Status Hearing: This hearing is set by the Court to verify compliance with probation, Court Orders, conditions of release, or for various other reasons.

Plea Bargains: The Tribal Prosecutor offers a plea bargain in many cases due to the high volume of cases in Tribal Court. The Prosecutor recommends a much more lenient sentence if a defendant pleads guilty than if the case goes to trial and the defendant is convicted.

TLOA: Colville Tribal Court will apply the Federal Rules of Evidence in their criminal proceedings