The Bay Mills Tribal Court serves the needs of the Bay Mills Indian Community related to legal and ethical issues, and hears all civil and criminal cases in the arenas of divorce, custody and support, paternity, child welfare, money collection, juvenile and tort, probate and landlord-tenant cases.
Additional services provided by the Tribal Court include:
- Assisting with filing matters
- Providing court forms where applicable and available
- Issuing subpoenas for parties and/or witnesses
- Issuing garnishments
- Appointing court advocates (income qualifying)
- Enforcing foreign judgements from Michigan State Courts, federally recognized tribal courts, federal courts and other state courts (provided there is reciprocal full faith and credit to the judgements of Bay Mills Indian Community Tribal Court)
Located in Brimley, Michigan, Bay Mills Tribal Court was originally a Code of Federal Regulations Court. On March 8, 1976, it became a Tribal Court exercising jurisdiction in accordance with the Bay Mills Law and Order Code and Bay Mills Ordinances.
The Court has jurisdiction over civil activity that occurs:
- where the defendant is a member residing on the reservation
- on real or tangible personal property located within the boundaries of the Bay Mills Indian Community
- when contract for services entered into within the boundaries of the Bay Mills Indian Community.
The laws applied to civil actions include the tribal law code and ordinances, applicable laws of the United States, applicable regulations of the Department of Interior, any tribal customers that do not violate laws of the United States (otherwise, tribal laws or ordinances apply), Michigan law (in the absence of substantive Tribal law).
The Court has jurisdiction over criminal activity that occurs within the boundaries of the Bay Mills Indian Community, as defined in the Criminal Code. The laws applied to criminal actions include the tribal law code and ordinances.
About the Seal
Bay Mills Tribal Court designed a new seal to represent the Judicial Branch of the Bay Mills Indian Community. The seal depicts the tribal scales of justice, which are embraced by the colors of the medicine wheel and surrounded by the original clan system of the Anishinaabe people. Together, all three symbols represent the values of the Bay Mills Tribal Court as an example of modern, cultural, and traditional restorative justice.
Assistant Healing to Wellness Coordinator/Court Clerk
Jennifer L. Obreiter
Terry E. Carrick
Court Services/Probation Officer
The Bay Mills Tribal Court facilities include several resources for practicing attorneys and the community. The Court includes a jury deliberation room, judge’s chambers, clerk’s office, courtroom, and a law library. The library consists of both primary and secondary legal authorities regarding tribal, state and federal matters. Additionally, case and docket management is fully computerized.
The tribal court exercises criminal and civil jurisdiction over its 2,000-acre reservation in Chippewa County. The court also practices jurisdiction for issues regarding commercial and harvesting activities of enrolled members of the Bay Mills Indian Community.
Requirements and Procedure Information
Those who wish to practice before the Tribal Court must provide proof of membership in good standing of the State Bar of his or her state of residence.
A court advocate who is a member of the State Bar of Michigan may be appointed to represent defendants charged with violating major civil infraction or criminal offenses. Lay advocates are admitted at the court’s discretion.
The Tribal Constitution, Tribal Court Code, Tribal Ordinances and Tribal Hunting and Fishing Regulations are based on U.S. District Court Consent Decree, federal statutes, regulations and case law.
In order to represent any person in an action before the Bay Mills Tribal Court, attorneys must be duly admitted to practice by filing a written request for admission with the Clerk of the Court, accompanied by a certificate of good standing from the State Bar or Supreme Court of the State in which such attorney is duly licensed to practice law.
Once the request is made, the attorney must also pay an admission fee of $100. Upon filing of the required documents and fee, the Clerk of the Court shall enter the attorney’s name on the roster of attorneys admitted to practice before the Bay Mills Tribal Court. Those who have been admitted can be found below.
Such entry shall constitute certification to practice before the Tribal Court until such time as the attorney shall file a notice of retirement, shall die or become incapacitated, or shall be suspended or disbarred from practice of the Bay Mills Tribal Court.