AILC Launches Online Training Courses for Tribal Judges

Law and Society Conference
Melanie Fritzsche (`96), with the American Indian Law Center, conducts a recent training. Attending were (l-r) Judge Stan Read of the CFR Court, Judge Stephen Wall of the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals, Judge Anthony Little of the Ak-Chin Tribal Court and Chief Judge Albert Banteah of the Pueblo of Picuris Tribal Court.

The American Indian Law Center (AILC), in collaboration with the University of New Mexico School of Law, has launched two online training courses as part of its Tribal Court Training Program.

The Domestic Violence Virtual Courtroom discusses the issuance and violation of restraining orders from a tribal court judge’s perspective. The second course, Tribal Court Practice: Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse, focuses on multidisciplinary resources and data in Indian country. Both online trainings were created primarily for tribal court judges.

The Domestic Violence Virtual Courtroom includes video scenarios filmed from a tribal court judge’s perspective using an electronic case file of the hypothetical hearings. In this basic training, the trainee is asked to rule on motions or answer questions from a judge’s point of view. Feedback is provided in the form of bench tools and analysis points.

Tribal Court Practice: Intimate Partner Sexual Abuseprovides an overview of topics dealing with intimate partner sexual abuse in Indian country and the possible dynamics of such issues in the tribal courtroom. Synopses and quotes from multidisciplinary resources and data comprise the curriculum for this online training.

The AILC collaborated with the UNM School of Law’s Southwest Indian Law Clinic to develop the online programs. Funding was provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services.

“It is vital to the continued development of tribal courts that accessible training be offered electronically to tribal judges on these important subject areas impacting Indian Country,” said Helen B. Padilla (`97), AILC director. “With many tribal courts located in rural areas, AILC hopes this training will reach and be helpful to as many tribal courts as possible.”

The online trainings are free of charge and are accessible at the AILC website:

June 25, 2012