Tribal Court

    Benefits and Goals of Tribal Court

    Benefits: Exercise of the Tribes’ sovereignty providing for resolution of conflicts within tribal court.

    Goals: Tribal court will be user friendly; various forms are available from court clerk and on-line. Alternative forms of resolution are planned; costs will not be prohibitive.

    Civil Actions
    Civil Cases
    Civil Rights
    Contract Disputes
    Court of Appeals
    Domestic Violence
    Election Disputes
    Employee Action Review
    Enrollment Appeals
    Small Claims
    Tort Claims (Personal Injury and Property Damage)


    Peacegiving will provide a voluntary dispute resolution alternative, grounded in the tribal traditions of peace and healing.

    The Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians created Peacegiving on November 13, 2005, by Tribal Council Resolution 05-111. The purpose of Peacegiving is to protect the health and welfare of Tribal members by utilizing Tribal customs and traditions to resolve conflicts and to assist Tribal youth in need of services. It is grounded in Tribal traditions of peace and healing.

    Peacegiving is a division of the Tribal Court and is subject to the supervision and control of the Chief Judge. Peacegiving is facilitated by Peacegivers – who are Tribal members who have the respect of the Tribal community and a reputation for honesty, integrity, humanity and a demonstrated practice for resolving local problems by means that honor Tribal values of peace and healing.

    Peacegiving is a significant alternative to the criminal justice system and serves as a model to other communities and Tribal Courts for restorative justice. Any type of dispute can be referred to Peacegiving by using the “Notice of Dispute and Request for Transfer of Dispute to Peacegiving” form.

    The first Peacegiving case was filed in 2005 and since then, there have been over 20 Peacegiving cases referred to Peacegiving.

    Philosophy and Cost Benefit
    Statistically, the numbers are small, however, the ripple effect on the life of the youth, their family and their Tribal community are huge. Success stories include Tribal youths who are now college graduates and gainfully employed, been awarded scholarships and others who have turned their lives around so they do not enter the State Court System, which would have “followed” them through life.

    Peacegiving is an investment in the members of the Tribes by providing for a cultural response to conflict.

    According to a 2009 study by the State of Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission, the benefit to a property crime victim for avoiding a conviction is $25,550. The benefit to the State of Oregon for avoiding prosecution is $36,105.

    Peacegiving works to benefit all parties.

    Healing to Wellness Court

    The CTCLUSI Tribal Court now has a functioning Wellness Court. Why would you be interested in your Wellness Court? How could your Wellness Court be important in your life? Do you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who struggles with alcohol or drug abuse? Does it affect their home, job and family relations? Are there repeated problems with police? Do they have children who are struggling, perhaps missing school or using drugs or alcohol themselves?

    Tribal members noted that alcohol and drug abuse was a high priority concern in the CTCLUSI community and the community at large. Your Wellness Court is an alternative to incarceration, as well as an opportunity for healing from addiction or substance abuse.

    CTCLUSI Wellness Court is accepting participants who struggle with substance abuse. These persons can come to Wellness Court by several difference avenues, such as self-referral, by police citation, Family Services petitions or referrals, Education Department referral and State Court or probation referral.

    What is a Wellness Court? A Wellness Court is not simply a Tribal Court that handles cases with underlying drug and alcohol issues. Wellness Court is a problem solving court that brings a wellness concept into the court process to address the drug and alcohol abuse needs of the tribal community. A Wellness Court allows a tribal community to employ cultural strategies along with drug and alcohol treatment and court supervision to address the specific needs of the participant and the community.

    The goal is to have Tribal Government (including Tribal Court) promote the health and well-being of individuals, families, extended families, and the tribal community. The participant should expect to complete a journey of healing that will help teach them to become a whole, well-functioning member of their community, and guide them on the path to leading a clean and sober life.

    How does Wellness Court work? Every court case is managed by a team that typically involves the Judge, Case Manager, substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, police officer, tribal elder, Tribal Presenting Officer and Tribal Defense Advocate. This group works together to oversee the progress of the participant in their recovery process, to provide support in areas where they have barriers; such as, education, job searches, housing, transportation, family environment, physical and mental health, and to hold the participant accountable to their treatment schedule and efforts.

    The Tribal Court will provide information on the Wellness Court process in this journey through future newspaper articles and social opportunities. Please bring your questions and thoughts to the attention of Jennifer Stephens or Tribal Court staff at any time. Jennifer Stephens is the Wellness Court Case Manager and can be reached at the Tribal Court Office in Coos Bay in person, by phone at 541-888-1307, or by email at .

    Court of Appeals

    Tribal Code 10-16-02 states that: The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals shall extend to all appeals from final orders and judgments of the Tribal Court (Court), and appeals of final administrative decisions where a provision of this Code expressly vests such jurisdiction in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals shall review de novo all determinations of the Tribal Court on matters of law, but shall not set aside any factual determinations of the Tribal Court if such determinations are supported by substantial evidence.

    The Court of Appeals shall have jurisdiction:
    (a)to take all necessary steps to preserve and protect the jurisdiction of the Court;
    (b) during the pendency of any criminal appeal, to release the appellant on his own recognizance or on bail; and
    (c) to make any order appropriate to preserve the status quo or to protect any ultimate judgment of the Court of Appeals.

    1-16-11 Composition of Court of Appeals
    The Tribal Council shall appoint a Chief Justice and two (2) Associate Justices to the Court of Appeals, none of whom shall be judges of the Tribal Court. The Judges empaneled for the Court of Appeals are:
    • Chief Justice Robert T. Anderson
    • Associate Justice Eric D. Eberhard
    • Associate Justice Michael Taylor

    Tribal Court Docket

    COURT LOCATION: Tribal Court and Peacegiving is held at the Tribal Government Building of The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Suislaw Indians, located at 1245 Fulton Avenue., Coos Bay, OR. Confirmation of court schedules can be made by speaking with the court clerk at 541-888-1306.
    The court clerk’s office is located at 1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR. Office hours are posted. Call 541-888-9577 to determine staff availability.
    • Dates are set each month so those cited by police have a scheduled appearance date.

    • Other court dates will be set on an individual basis as needed

    Contacts List

    Chief Judge
    J.D. Williams
    Chief Judge
    541-888-1306 (Main)

    1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420

    Tribal Court Clerk/Peacegiving Coordinator
    Diane Whitson
    Tribal Court Clerk/Peacegiving Coordinator
    541-888-1306 (Main)

    1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420

    Tribal Court Clerk II/Peacegiving Support
    Tina Dresser
    Tribal Court Clerk II/Peacegiving Support
    541-888-1306 (Main)

    1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420

    Case Manager/Resource Coordinator
    Jennifer Stephens
    Case Manager/Resource Coordinator
    541-888-1307 (Main)

    1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420

    Associate Judge
    Karen Costello
    Associate Judge

    1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420