Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)
The purpose of this project is to increase the Yakama Nation (YN) Tribal Courts capacity to properly adjudicate and dispose of backlogged cases caused by COVID-19 pandemic closures. With additional court staff we can dedicate grant funded resources to manage the backlog of criminal, DV restraining orders, and appellate cases, allowing our tribal funded judiciary and staff to effectively manage the current/incoming caseloads. The project will fund an additional Regular Full Time (RFT) Associate Judge and Court Clerk. The goals of the project are: to provide timely, professional court services that strengthens the Yakama Nation’s inherent sovereignty and its ability to protect and serve its members, future generations, their families, employees, visitors and neighbors; to hold regular review/probation hearings in criminal cases after disposition to ensure defendants are accountable in following through in court ordered treatment plans and restitution when applicable; to ensure Domestic Violence victims seeking protection from abusive partners are receiving timely scheduled hearings in restraining order cases; and, with an adequately staffed court system, improve the trust and confidence in the courts by our membership and the community we serve.
The Yakama Nation seeks $900,000 to hire an additional Associate Judge and Court Clerk for a total of four (4) years. We included a budget to purchase computers and supplies for the two positions. In addition, we are requesting funding to assist the Yakama Nation Courts and Justice Service’s programs in hiring a professional moving company to transport our office furniture, files, and all equipment into our new Multipurpose Justice Center upon completion on 10/31/23. This will assist the courts to minimize the amount of court closure dates and assist in a timely transition.