Jury Service at Isleta Tribal Court
Enrolled tribal members at least 18 years of age who live in Isleta, Bosque Farms, Peralta, Los Lunas and Albuquerque may be randomly selected for jury service. Those selected receive a Jury Summons, Qualification Form and Questionnaire in the mail with a deadline to submit the forms. The Court issues bench warrants if the juror forms are not submitted by the deadline.
Anyone who disregards a Court summons can be held in contempt, have a bench warrant issued for their arrest, face jail and/or fines. Jury forms must be submitted to the Court even if an exemption, excusal or postponement is requested. All potential jurors must report to the Court on the date listed unless they receive a letter approving the exemption, excusal or postponement. Jury service is MANDATORY. The Court relies on the cooperation of tribal members to uphold defendants’ right to a jury trial. Therefore, the Court must hold tribal members accountable if they do not comply with a Jury Summons. Tribal members should check their mail regularly, update their addresses with the Census Office and pay attention to any mail from Isleta Tribal Court.
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Problems Notifying Potential Jurors
The Court uses information from the Census Office to contact potential jurors. Many tribal members have not updated their addresses which results in the Court sending information to old addresses and issuing bench warrants when a juror does not return the forms by the deadline.
Exceptions and Exemptions for Jury Service
Those who are 75 years of age or older may submit an Affidavit of Age which permanently excludes them from jury duty at Isleta Tribal Court. Resolution No. 2001-134, Pueblo of Isleta Jury Trial Rules and Procedures, Section 2(A), Obtaining Jurors also lists others who are excluded from jury service, including any tribal member currently serving in an elected or appointed position for the Pueblo of Isleta, employees of the Isleta Tribal Court, employees of the Pueblo of Isleta’s law enforcement agencies, or persons convicted of a felony. Those who are exempted or excluded because of their age, position or employment must complete the qualification form and submit it by the deadline for the Court’s records.
Requesting a postponement or excusal of jury service
Persons selected for jury service may submit a Request for Excusal/Postponement if serving creates a severe hardship or the person has a scheduled vacation, doctor appointment or other obligation. Excusals may also be granted for extreme mental, physical or financial hardships. Any request for excusal based on a medical reason requires a letter from a doctor.
Term of jury service
Each year the Court summons two jury panels to serve. The term of service for:
- Panel #1 is from January 1st to June 30th and
- Panel #2 serves from July 1st to December 31st.
The Court makes an effort to notify the jury panel as soon as a jury trial is scheduled and at least fourteen (14) days in advance. Jury service for Isleta Tribal Court is for a longer period of time as compared with larger jurisdictions because the jury pool (total number of persons who may be selected) is much smaller.