The judicial power of the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe shall be vested in the Tribal Court System. The Tribal Court System shall include a Tribal Court and such other lower courts of special jurisdiction, including forums for traditional dispute resolution, as the Tribal Council may establish by ordinance. There shall also be a Court of Appeals which shall be the court of last resort for all cases filed within the Tribal Court System.
The judicial power of the courts shall extend to all cases and controversies within the jurisdiction of the Tribe, in law or equity, arising under this constitution, the laws or customs of the Tribe, or which are vested in the tribal courts by federal law or by virtue of the Tribe’s inherent sovereignty. Any case or controversy arising within the jurisdiction of the Tribe shall be filed in the Tribal Court or other appropriate forum established by the Tribal Council before it is filed in any other court.
The Tribal Council shall appoint judges to serve for a term of four (4) years. There shall be one judge for the Tribal Court and either one or three judges for the Court of Appeals. No judge shall preside over a matter in the Court of Appeals if he or she presided over the same matter in the Tribal Court.
The qualifications for judges shall be established by ordinance, Provided, That no additional requirements may be added during the tenure of a judge already in office, unless the additions or changes exempt the present judges during their term.
Judges shall receive for their services reasonable compensation that shall not be diminished during their term of office.
(a) A judge shall be removed by the Tribal Council for:
(1) Final conviction of a felony by any tribal, federal or state court while serving as judge.
(A) The Tribal Council may suspend a judge charged with a felony pending the outcome of the trial and any appeals, and an interim judge may be appointed for the period of the suspension.
(b) A judge may be disciplined or removed by the Tribal Council, by a vote of at least five (5) members of the Tribal Council, for:
(1) Converting tribal property or monies for personal use;
(2) Final conviction of three misdemeanors by any tribal, federal or state court while serving as judge;
(3) Unnecessary and repeated delays in hearing matters filed in the Courts; or
(4) Violation of the Judicial Code of Ethics.
(c) A judge shall be given full and fair opportunity to reply to any and all charges for which he or she may be disciplined or removed. A judge who is disciplined or removed may appeal directly to the Court of Appeals.
The duties and procedures of the Tribal Court System, and all other court matters not addressed in this article of the constitution, shall be established by the Tribal Council by ordinance. The ordinance may also include a Judicial Code of Ethics governing the conduct of tribal judges.