Friday — August 19, 2022

Tribal Court Protection Orders

by: Cesar J Segura

With over 39.5 million people, California is the largest state by population. Likewise, California is home to over 12% of the total Native American population in the United States, making California home to the biggest population of Native American residents in the country. However, it is important to note that only 3% of the entire Native American population in California live on Tribal Reservations. With such a large Indigenous population spread across California, tribal courts and state court judges often work together to enforce protection orders issued by both Tribal Court and State Court Judges.

Nationally, over 80% of American Indian/Alaska Native people have experienced some form of violence during their lifetime. With the creation of Tribal Courts through the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Tribal Courts legally have the authority to provide protection orders against both Native and Non-Native persons. Through both California’s Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders Act and the 2013 reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the state of California provides “full faith and credit” to any protection order issued by a Tribal Court. This means that Tribal Court Protection Orders are entitled to full credit and enforcement in California, and the order does not need to be registered with the state.

Though, in theory, Tribal Protection Orders should be enforced fully throughout the state of California, this is not always the case. Many law enforcement agencies will not fully enforce a Protection Order unless it is first registered in the California Restraining and Protection Orders System (CARPOS) through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS). Though the system is not perfect, many state agencies are working to provide additional education to law enforcement on the enforcement of Tribal Court Protection Orders. Additionally, the faxing or notification of Tribal Court Protection Orders to state courts for registration purposes is no longer required for law enforcement to enforce these orders.