Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $200,000)
This award is made under the FY 2008 Tribal Courts Assistance Program and it supports the development, implementation, enhancement, and continuing operation of tribal justice systems. Allowable elements under the program may include, but are not limited to: establishing a core structure for a tribal court; improving case management; training court personnel; acquiring additional equipment and/or software; enhancing prosecution and indigent defense; supporting probation diversion and alternative sentencing programs; accessing services; focusing on juvenile services and multi disciplinary protocols for child physical and sexual abuse; and structuring intertribal or tribal appellate systems.
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe will use FY 08 Tribal Courts Assistance Program (TCAP) Category II Planning and Implementing a Single-Tribe Court System funds to support the development of an appropriate system that will accept the transfer of Indian Child Welfare (ICW) cases from state courts and share case management information with other judicial systems. The tribe has neither a reservation nor other lands that have been accepted into trust status yet. Although most court jurisdiction is linked to tribal lands, the lack of trust land is not a limiting factor under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which guarantees the rights of tribal intervention and transfer of cases to tribal courts. The goal of the project is to plan for and implement a tribal court and/or equivalent administrative entity, with formal procedures to adjudicate ICW cases and potentially other types of issues. The Policy Analyst and Project Advisory Team will play a crucial role in planning and implementing the project. The objectives will be to: research possible models for the tribal court; develop and submit codes, rules, policies, procedures, and make other recommendations to the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council for consideration; network with other tribes to gather information about tribal judicial and case management information systems; provide necessary training for tribal court staff; implement the tribal court; and, begin scheduling and hearing cases.