Contempt of Tribal Court

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The Court has contempt power pursuant to the inherent judicial authority of the Isleta Tribal Court and as conveyed in Appellate Court Memorandum Opinion, IAC-07-012.  This means the Court can sanction persons for contempt of court rules and orders, disobedience of the judicial process and for disturbing court proceedings.  

Contempt can be either civil or criminal in nature.  Criminal contempt also known as direct contempt occurs when a person interferes with the Court’s ability to function properly such as insulting the judge or ignoring a judge’s command in court.  Sanctions may include a fine, jail or both.  A person who commits a disruptive or defiant act during a proceeding before the judge may be held in direct contempt and punished summarily without further evidentiary proceedings.  Instances of civil contempt require minimal due process which means that the Court must give the person fair notice and an opportunity to be heard.  When a person willfully disobeys a court order it is considered civil contempt or indirect contempt because it happens away from the Court or outside the Court’s presence.  Sanctions for civil contempt may include fines, jail or other sanctions to force the person to comply with the Court Order, not necessarily to punish the person.