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

Intertribal Court of Southern California


Chapt. 3 - Judges

Sec. 301 Appointment

The TJCSC shall appoint the Chief Judge, all Pro Tem Judges, and all Judges for the Court of Appeals of the Intertribal Court. The Court Administrator shall hire all the ICSC’s Administrative personnel.

Sec. 302 Term

The Chief Judge of the ICSC shall hold office for a term of four (4) years and shall be eligible for reappointment. A Pro Tem Judge may be appointed on a temporary basis on such terms and conditions as are determined by the TJCSC. Any person appointed to fill an existing vacancy created by the death, resignation, or removal for cause of the Chief Judge shall hold office only for the remainder of the Chief Judge’s original term. However, the Appointee shall be eligible for reappointment.

Sec. 303 Minimum Qualifications of Judges

To be eligible to serve as an ICSC Judge, a person must:

(a) be thirty (30) years of age or older,

(b) be of good moral character,

(c) hold a higher standard of conduct and integrity,

(d) possess a high-school diploma or its equivalency,

(e) be capable of carrying out the duties of the office,

(f) demonstrate knowledge of Indian, Federal, and California State Law, and

(g) have never been convicted of a felony offense.

Indian preference in hiring will be applied to all qualified applicants.

Sec. 304 Salary

The Chief Judge of the ICSC and any Pro Tem Judges shall be paid a salary that is to be determined by the TJCSC.

Sec. 305 Removal of a Judge

If any member Tribe to the ICSC, ICSC personnel, or member of a Tribe belonging to the ICSC submits written charges of specific misconduct against a Judge or claims that the Judge is physically or mentally unable to carry out the duties of the office, the ICSC Administrator shall initiate an investigation and, if the written charges are reasonably substantiated, begin proceedings to remove the Judge from office.

  • PART A - Misconduct (as used in this Section shall mean)

a) Conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty or acts that are offensive to community norms; or

(b) Abusive or clearly incompetent performance of duties in office; or

(c) A continued failure to perform the duties of office, whether from illness, disability, or otherwise.

  • PART B - Removal Proceedings

The TJCSC may order that a Judge be suspended from duty for a period not to exceed twenty (20) days after written charges are filed with the ICSC. This determination shall only be made by a majority vote of the TJCSC at a meeting where a quorum of the Board is present. The TJCSC may appoint a Pro Tem Judge to assume the Judge’s duties pending the TJCSC ’ final decision.

A Judge subject to written charges shall be given at least ten (10) days advance written notice of any removal hearing that is to be held and that he or she is entitled to appear and have representation present. The written notice shall include an itemized list of the charges and the grounds for removal that will be considered at the hearing. Such notice shall be served by registered or certified mail, or be delivered personally to the Judge.

The Judge shall be given an opportunity to present witnesses and documentary evidence, to make oral and/or written argument on his or her behalf, to cross-examine witnesses, and to be represented by counsel at his or her own expense.

When determining whether to remove a judge, the TJCSC shall cast their votes by secret ballot. Two thirds (2/3) of these ballots must be in favor of removal for the judge to be removed. The TJCSC ’ decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Sec. 306 Disqualification

A Judge shall disqualify him/herself from any proceeding in which:

(a) his/her impartiality might reasonably be questioned,

(b) he/she has any personal bias or prejudice concerning any party,

(c) he/she or a member of his/her immediate family might be a witness, has any interest, has any personal knowledge of any disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings, or has acted or is acting as a lawyer or lay counselor in the proceedings, or

(d) he or she might otherwise appear to be biased or prejudiced.

As used in this Section, immediate family shall include grandparents, parents, spouses, children, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins, and in-laws.

Sec. 307 Rules of the Court

The Chief Judge may prescribe written Rules of Court, consistent with the provisions of this Governing Agreement, including rules establishing the time and place of court sessions. The TJCSC shall approve the ICSC Rules of Court before becoming effective. However, in the event that the Governing Agreement or any subsequent Rules of Court conflict with Tribal Law, the Tribal Law shall govern.