Chief Judge
Job Details
Tribal Administration - Palm Springs, CA
Full Time
4 Year Degree

Job Description Summary


The Chief Judge is responsible for presiding over and adjudicating a variety of judicial matters within the jurisdiction of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (ACBCI/Tribe), while protecting and enhancing the Tribe’s sovereignty. In addition, the Chief Judge is responsible for the overall development, management and success of the ACBCI Tribal Court.


Essential Duties and Information (other duties may be assigned)


  • Oversee the administration of the Judicial Department, including the management of all court operations, budget planning and submittal, procurement, training, and maintenance of records and case files.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of court rules, forms and procedures, expansion of court jurisdiction, and the administrative operations of the Tribal Court.
  • Exercise independent professional judgment to interpret and apply laws or precedents to reach judgments and to resolve disputes filed before the Tribal Court. Presides on motions and requests of the parties; schedules and presides over conferences, evidentiary hearings and bench trials; conducts necessary legal or factual research; and renders legal opinions.
  • Issue warrants, subpoenas, judgments, commitments and other legal orders, opinions, and documents.
  • Oversee or provides for the selection, training, professional development and discipline of staff; evaluate and/or review employee performance; handle grievances and other personnel actions.
  • Ensure accountability regarding collection of all court fines/fees.
  • Assist with developing, implementing and enforcing standards of the Agua Caliente Tribal Court Bar.
  • Attend judicial training sessions as required through NAICJA and conduct training for Tribal Court staff and public agencies.
  • Work with Tribal staff to draft and submit grant applications for Tribal Court funding for renovation and operations.


Supervisory Responsibilities


Tribal Court Administrator



Working Conditions/Physical Demands


To perform this job successfully, the individual must be able to stand, move and work throughout the

office area and properties, including walking up to 1 ½ mile, climbing stairs and sitting at a desk/work

station for the duration of the shift. 


Typically the individual will be housed in an office environment.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.  Must be able to grasp, bend, lift and/or carry or otherwise move goods weighing a minimum of 25 lbs. on an intermittent basis, and sufficient dexterity of hand in order to use office equipment including, but not limited to:  a computer keyboard, calculator, general office equipment and multi-line telephone.


Education and/or Experience


  • Must be at least thirty-five (35) years of age.
  • Jurist Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited institution.
  • Admitted to practice and in good standing in the courts of at least one state located within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Minimum of 7 years of experience as a licensed attorney with specialized experience in federal Indian law, tribes and tribal courts.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the laws of the Tribe and understanding of other relevant federal and state laws.
  • Experience in preparing papers and conducting hearings incident to the office of Chief Judge.
  • Strong communication, writing and interpersonal skills, a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and ability to handle multiple matters.
  • Strong personal and professional commitment to advancement of Tribal sovereignty and self-determination.
  • Experience in establishing and growing a Tribal Court, including construction/renovation of Tribal Court building.
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