The recent workshop, Tribal Court Trial Skills College, presented by the Indian Legal Program was a showcase of the program’s faculty, alumni and students.
"Tribal justice systems are essential to governance,” said Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ILP Faculty Director and Director of the Indian Legal Clinic, who welcomed participants and gave an overview of the case and explained the essentials of “The Trial Notebook."
”Tribal court advocates impact the daily lives of tribal members and the core functions of tribal government through their advocacy,” Ferguson-Bohnee said. “Because there are few opportunities for tribal court advocates to receive trial skills training, this training fills an important need in the community. Strengthening our tribal justice systems strengthens our tribal communities."
The three-day workshop, coordinated by Naomi White (Class of 2010), a summer faculty associate with the Indian Legal Clinic, was geared toward lay and law-trained tribal attorneys and judges, to help them improve their trial skills. Ten tribes sent participants to the workshop, which was was funded by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Two weeks before the workshop, participants were given a “case file,” for a simulated trial where participants conducted opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, jury selection and instructions and closing arguments. Participants then were given individual feedback and evaluations from workshop judges.
The Hon. Anthony Hill (Class of 2007), Chief Judge, Gila River Indian Community, gave a presentation on the "Etiquette of Practicing in Tribal Courts."
“We share our knowledge and experience by bringing professional and personal experiences gained through the practice of representing clients (governmental and individually) in real life settings and share strengths as models for practice for personal and professional development,” Hill said.
Other College of Law faculty participating were Ann Marie Bledsoe-Downes (Class of 1994), Interim Executive Director for the Indian Legal Program, who discussed the “History of Federal Indian Law,” ILP Professor Rebecca Tsosie, who gave a presentation on "Civil Jurisdiction;" Professor Bob Dauber, Clinical Professor of Law, who covered “Opening Statements,” and Professor Robert Bartels, the Charles M. Brewer Professor of Trial Advocacy, who handled “Cross Examination.”