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Colville Tribes' chief judge resigns amid controversy

 


Colville Tribal Court Chief Judge Scot Stuart resigned his position May 10, following an order by the Colville Tribal Court of Appeals related to a complaint filed by court staff and a Tribal Court practitioner in November 2015, the Tribe stated in a press release last week.

Chief Justice Anita Dupris penned the order, which recommended a bill of impeachment to remove the judge, the issuance of a public censure and a fine. It also required the judge to attend trainings, among other things. The public censure was issued Friday.

A bill of impeachment had been filed on the same complaint in November by the complaining parties. Pursuant to the Constitution of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Colville Business Council (CBC) held a hearing on the matter. Stuart had an opportunity to present a defense to the bill, and ultimately the CBC could not garner the required two-thirds vote of the full Business Council to impeach or remove him.

“There were just too many unanswered questions, and with the simultaneous fact finding being conducted through the Court of Appeals, the Council felt that it was best to let the processes in place to take their course,” Tribal Chairman Jim Boyd said.

Following the bill of impeachment filed by the Court of Appeals in late May, the CBC again prepared for impeachment proceedings. Prior to a hearing being set, however, Stuart tendered his resignation.

“(The CBC) considered a lot of different options regarding how to proceed. Ultimately, it was decided that the most efficient and prudent use of the Tribes’ time and money was to accept the resignation, move forward, and facilitate the full functioning of our Tribal Court system with as little interruption as possible,” Boyd said. “We feel good about our processes and how things ultimately worked out. This is, to my knowledge, the first time we have had to use that part of our Constitution and Code, and it looks like we got a result that will work for the Tribes.”

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