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Description and History
In 2006, the Tribal-State Judicial Consortium was formally recognized as an advisory board of the New Mexico Supreme Court. Formal recognition came after an earlier Supreme Court initiative to build relationships and foster communication between state and tribal courts. Today the Consortium consists of seven tribal court judges and seven state court judges, including a state judge co-chair and a tribal judge co-chair. A Supreme Court Justice serves as the Consortium liaison. Consortium members are appointed by the Supreme Court to serve three-year terms.
The Consortium’s mission is to establish working relationships based on mutual understanding, respect, and trust among tribal and state courts throughout New Mexico to achieve seamless justice for all.
- Throughout its history, the Consortium has addressed matters of jurisdiction and sovereignty in general, while focusing on specific issues that are important in both tribal and state courts. These issues have included domestic violence, domestic relations, child custody, child support,
child abuse and neglect, and juvenile justice. These are some of the Consortium’s initiatives:
- Co-sponsored the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.
- Promoted a nationwide initiative called Project Passport, to create a standard first page to use
on orders of protection in cases of domestic violence.
- Sponsored meetings to educate court and law enforcement staffs on the provisions of the Sex
Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
- Supported meetings to educate families about the rights of incarcerated parents of Indians
children under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
- Co-sponsored training events related to various matters, including cross-jurisdictional issues of
states in the Four Corners area, drugs and drug trafficking on reservations, the extension of
Project Passport, and best practices in Indian Child Welfare Cases.
- Helped develop and distribute a judicial bench card and best practices bulletin for use by judges
in cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act.
- Provided input and feedback during the drafting and passage of the Indian Families Protection
New Mexico Tribal State Judicial Consortium
Wendell Lane, Coordinator