The mission of the Karuk Judicial System is to restore and preserve traditional methods of resolving disputes between and among Tribal citizens to provide equality, justice, safety and security for all Tribal citizens and to all people within the Karuk Tribe Jurisdiction.
History and Jurisdiction
Article VI (10) of the Tribe’s Constitution authorizes the Tribal Council to “establish Tribal courts and administrative bodies, and to provide for the courts’ jurisdiction, procedures, separation of the judicial branch of government, and a method of selecting judges.”
The Karuk Tribal Court was formally established on February 26, 2004. The Tribal Council amended the original Tribal Court Ordinance on September 30, 2010 via Resolution 10-R-111. The Court hears child welfare, family relations, protective orders, guardianships, and other types of civil cases the Tribal Court Ordinance authorizes. This Ordinance establishes the Court’s personal and subject matter jurisdiction. The Constitution identifies tribal jurisdiction to include “all lands, waters, natural resources, cultural resources, air space, minerals, fish, forests and other flora, wildlife, and other resources, and any interest therein, now or in the future, throughout and within the Tribe’s territory.”
Karuk Tribal Court Facility
The new Karuk tribal court facility opened to the public on January 23, 2023, marking a significant milestone for the Karuk Tribe. The 2,880 square foot facility was made possible through funding secured from CTAS PA #4, which is the Tribal Justice System Infrastructure Program (BJA). This new facility is likely to provide a state-of-the-art justice system infrastructure that will greatly benefit the Karuk Tribe and the community.
The Tribal Court consists of the Trial Court and an Appellate Process. The Chief Judge of the Tribal Court acts as the Chief Administrator of both courts. The Tribe hires the Chief Administrator/ Judge, and Deputy Administrator/Judge.
Hon. April E. Attebury is the Chief Administrator/Judge, a position she has held since 2010.
Hon. Devin Flesher is the Deputy Administrator/Judge, a position he has held since 2022.
In addition, Pro Tempore Judges are selected by an RFP process and put on a temporary judge list, with the full powers of a regularly appointed Tribal judge to hear and dispose of an assigned case.