The Torres Martinez Tribe, according to its Constitution, Article XXII, Sec. 3, uses an Intertribal Court.

Intertribal Court of Southern California


Chapt. 1 - Establishment & Operation of the Intertribal Court of Southern California

Sec. 101 Establishment of the Intertribal Court of Southern California

The Governing Agreement hereby establishes an Intertribal Court of Southern California (ICSC), a court of limited jurisdiction, which shall be the court of record for a consortium of Southern California Tribes.

Sec. 102 Tribal Judicial Council of Southern California

The ICSC shall be governed by the Tribal Judicial Council of Southern California (TJCSC). The TJCSC shall consist of representatives from member Tribes of Southern California that have agreed to participate in the ICSC by signing this Governing Agreement.

The TJCSC shall establish its own By-Laws and policies for the ICSC.

Sec. 103 Intertribal Court Membership

To become a member of the ICSC, a Tribe must submit an application that conforms with the process described below. The TJCSC may, in its discretion, waive these membership requirements and authorize a Tribe to participate in the ICSC. All Tribes requesting membership in the ICSC shall pay a one-time fee, the amount of which will be determined by the TJCSC.

  • PART A - Membership Application Process

A Tribe wishing to participate in the ICSC shall submit to the Court Administrator of the ICSC a written request stating the Tribe’s desire to participate in the ICSC along with a written estimate of the nature and extent of services the Tribe believes it will require during the fiscal year in which it wishes to become a member. This request must be made within 30 days of the first day of the new fiscal year. The Court Administrator shall review the Tribe’s request and determine whether or not the ICSC can accommodate the Tribe’s request during the fiscal year in question. On the basis of this assessment, the Court Administrator shall make a written recommendation to the TJCSC regarding the Tribe’s membership request. The TJCSC shall review both the Tribe’s request and the recommendation of the Court Administrator and vote on whether the new Tribe may participate in the ICSC.

  • PART B - Mid-Year Membership Application

In the event that an eligible Tribe requests participation in the ICSC during the middle of a fiscal year and such participation is infeasible because of insufficient ICSC resources, the ICSC shall include the Tribe as one of its participating Tribes for purposes of preparing its annual plan of operation and funding requests for the succeeding fiscal year, and the new Tribe shall be admitted to participate in the ICSC as soon as the resources permit.

  • PART C - Official Membership

Upon approval of its application to participate in the ICSC, a new Tribe shall become a member of the ICSC once its Chairperson or other designated elected officer, acting pursuant to a Resolution adopted by the Tribe’s governing body, signs this Governing Agreement.

Sec. 104 Withdrawal from Membership in the Intertribal Court of Southern California

A Tribe that wishes to withdraw from the ICSC shall provide the Chairperson of the TJCSC and the Court Administrator with at least thirty (30) days’ written notice. The written notice shall be accompanied by a written resolution, passed by the Tribal Government, authorizing the Tribe’s withdrawal from the ICSC. Before the scheduled withdrawal date, a representative from the withdrawing Tribe shall meet with the TJCSC and make a good faith attempt to resolve any problems that may have prompted the Tribe to submit the withdrawal notice. However, if there are no problems and the withdrawal notice was submitted solely because the Tribe is ready to create or begin to operate its own independent Tribal Court, the ICSC and the withdrawing Tribe shall work together to create a transition plan to aid the Tribe in the creation and effective functioning of their court.

Sec. 105 Administrative Branch of the Intertribal Court of Southern California

Pursuant to the Governing Agreement, the administrative branch of the ICSC shall provide such services as, but not limited to:

(a) case management,

(b) aid in the development of uniform codes for consortium Tribes,

(c) development of court forms and rules,

(d) coordinating logistics for judicial staffing, and

(e) coordinating hearings, pursuant to Section 101.

Sec. 106 Services to Member Tribes

At the beginning of the third quarter of each fiscal year, each participating Tribe in the ICSC shall submit to the Court Administrator a plan estimating the nature and extent of the services, which the Tribe believes it will require during the following fiscal year. However, if the Tribe believes that it will require the same amount of services as the prior year, this provision is deemed waived if not acted upon. If a participating tribe fails or refuses to meet the conditions of this section, the Court Administrator may recommend, and the TJCSC may approve, the suspension of ICSC services to that Tribe until it complies with the provisions of this section. The Tribe may appeal to the TJCSC regarding its decision by submitting an appeal in writing to the Court Administrator. The Court Administrator will then forward the appeal to the TJCSC.

Sec. 107 Records of the Court

The ICSC shall keep a record of all proceedings of the Court, showing the:

(a) title of the case,

(b) names and addresses of the parties, attorneys, lay counselors and witnesses;

(c) substance of the complaint;

(d) dates of all hearings or trials;

(e) name of the Judge;

(f) findings of the Court or verdict of the jury and judgment;

(g) Preservation of testimony for perpetual memory by electronic recording, otherwise; together with any other facts or circumstances deemed of importance to the case. [A record of all proceedings leading to incarceration shall be submitted to the Regional Director, to be made a part of the records of the Pacific Regional Office as required by 25 U.S.C. 200.]

Unless specifically exempted by this Governing Agreement or Rules of Court, the records of the Court shall be public and available at the administrative offices of the Court.

Sec. 108 Jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of the ICSC shall extend to all lands, persons, and subject matter as set forth below or to the fullest extent authorized by federal and tribal law.

  • PART A - Territory

The ICSC’s jurisdiction shall include all territory within the boundaries of the member Tribes of the ICSC or other areas defined by a member Tribe of the ICSC as its “Indian Country”.

  • PART B - Persons

The jurisdiction of the ICSC shall extend to all persons, entities, or organizations within the territory of the member Tribes of the ICSC to the fullest extent authorized by Federal, State and Tribal law. If the person, entity, or organization is not within the territory of the ICSC, the ICSC’s personal jurisdiction still attaches if the person, entity, or organization:

(a) Transacts business within the territory of a member tribe

(b) Agrees to supply goods or services to the Tribe, or

(c) Commits an act within a member Tribe that causes injury.

  • PART C - Subject Matter

The jurisdiction of the ICSC shall extend to all matters authorized by the Tribal Law of the member Tribes and applicable Federal and State Law, including matters in equity and common law.

Sec. 109 Tribal Immunity from Suit

Every ICSC Tribe shall be immune from suit. Nothing in this Governing Agreement shall be construed to allow an ICSC Member Tribe to be sued by another tribe, person, entity, or other organization. However, an individual ICSC Tribe may waive its sovereign immunity for a specific case by passing a Tribal resolution, signed by the Tribal Chairperson or other designated official, and submitting it along with a written authorization form to the ICSC’s Court Administrator.

Sec. 110 Term of Agreement

The Terms of this Governing Agreement commence on the date of its execution and continue until thirty (30) days after a Tribe submits a written withdrawal request as detailed in Section 104.

Sec. 111 Amendments

Only written instrument duly signed and executed by member Tribe and the TJCSC may amend this Governing Agreement.

Sec. 112 Successors in Interest

The terms of this Governing Agreement shall be binding on all successors in interest of each party.

Sec. 113 Severability

The provisions of this Governing Agreement are severable, and the invalidity of any provision or portion of this Agreement shall not affect the validity of any other provision or portion of this Agreement, thus leaving the remaining provisions or portions of the Agreement in full force and effect.