The Pueblo of San Felipe is a Native American tribe recognized by the United States of America, with a traditional form of government, exercising all inherent governmental, powers and tribal sovereignty to with it exercises its judicial authority through a two court system, the first being a traditional Tribal Court, in which the Governor of the Pueblo acts as its Chief Judge and the second being a Contemporary Tribal Court as constituted per Pueblo of San Felipe Tribal Council Resolution No. 2016-25, dated August 17, 2016 and later amended by Pueblo of San Felipe Tribal Council Resolution No. 2017-03, which adopted and enacted the First Amended and Restated Pueblo of San Felipe Judicial Code Establishing a Contemporary Tribal Court of Limited Jurisdiction (Judicial Code). Under the Judicial Code, the Contemporary Tribal Court was created and given the authority by the Tribal Council to adjudicate certain cases (subject matter jurisdiction) and the ability to adjudicate those cases if the parties met certain criteria (personal jurisdiction). The Contemporary Tribal Court has jurisdiction over Civil and Criminal matters as they pertain to tribal members and those non-tribal members who reside upon or enter the land of the Pueblo or enter into a consensual relationship with a tribal member. The Contemporary Tribal Court consists of Civil, Criminal, Traffic, Children’s and Community Wellness Courts (in planning stages). The Probation and Parole Services are also under the umbrella of the Pueblo of San Felipe Contemporary Tribal Court.
The Contemporary Tribal Court hears all Civil matters including but not limited to traffic, wildlife, trespass, probate, tort, commercial, debt, housing evictions and arrearages, paternity, child custody and support, adoptions, Pueblo of San Felipe Family Services’ families in need of services, and child abuse and neglect matters under the Pueblo’s Protecting Persons at Risk Code as duly adopted and enacted by the Pueblo of San Felipe Tribal Council in 1994. The Court has concurrent criminal jurisdiction with the United States over major crimes and hears all matters under the laws of the Pueblo of San Felipe and duly adopted laws such as the list of Criminal offenses as found at 25 CFR Part 11Subpart D.
The Criminal docket consists of arraignments, motion hearings, pre-trial conference hearings, trials on the merits, sentencing hearings, probation review and revocation hearings, and parole request hearings.
The Contemporary Tribal Court currently does not have a public defender for indigent criminal defendants and most prosecution services in criminal actions are provided on behalf of the Pueblo of San Felipe by the Southern Pueblos Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services. Probation and Parole Services are responsible for the monitoring of defendants who have been adjudicated in the Contemporary Tribal Court and are either on probation or parole.
It is the Pueblo of San Felipe Contemporary Tribal Court’s mission, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the Pueblo that the Court exercises its judicial powers in a professional, respectful, and fair manner that recognizes tribal customs and traditions and protects tribal sovereignty while promoting community safety, open communication and justice.
The Contemporary Tribal Court has adopted two separate rules of procedure for process in Civil and Criminal proceedings. A copy of the rules of procedure can be found on this website along with a copy of the Judicial Code.
Hon. Mekko M. Miller
Dane M. Candelaria
Acceptance of Payments: The Court does not accept any form of payment. Any and all payments must be made by check or money order with the case number and party’s name on it and shall be made at the Pueblo of San Felipe Finance Department.
Service of process in civil cases: Whenever a person/party to a case files a petition, motion, or other pleading (document) with the Court, the person filing the document must provide to the Court current contact information of the opposing party.
Court Will Not Provide Legal Advice: The Judge or judges, court clerks, administrative assistants, Marshals and Court Administrator cannot provide legal advice to anyone. A list of attorneys & advocates who are licensed to practice in the Pueblo of San Felipe Contemporary Tribal Court is available from the Clerk. The attorneys on the list are not affiliated with the Pueblo of San Felipe Contemporary Tribal Court and the Court cannot provide a recommendation.
Court Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. (closed during lunch hour)
Main Office: (505) 867-2696
Fax: (505) 867- 2704
BIA Office of Justice Services, Southern Pueblos Agency
Main Office: (505) 346-2868
Fax: (505) 867- 346-2866