Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court Rules


Chapter 1  |  General Provisions


Rule 1.1  |  Title, Applicability and Citation of Rules

These rules shall be known, and may be cited as Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court Rules (“RRTCR”). These rules are applicable to all proceedings in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court relating to the Constitution and laws of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe, procedures and actions taken by Robinson Rancheria entities, and the common law and the traditional law of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe. Citations shall be to the chapter and rule. i.e., “RRTCR, Rule 1.1.”

Rule 1.2  |  Scope of Rules

Rule 1.2.1  Scope
These Rules govern the administration and procedures of the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court.


Rule 1.2.2  Amendment or Supplement
Whenever it appears to the Court that a particular situation does not fall within any of these rules, or the literal application of a rule would work a hardship or injustice in any case, the Court shall make such order as the interests of justice require. These rules may be amended or supplemented by filed Administrative Order of the Chief Judge, but such changes shall not be interpreted so as to prejudice the rights of parties in pending cases. Copies of these Rules shall be kept in the Court Clerk’s Office.


Rule 1.3  |  Location, Business Hours and Court Days

Rule 1.3.1  Location of Court
The Court is located at [address] Court shall be conducted at the Court’s location or at other places as may be determined by the Chief Tribal Judge when the interests of justice require an alternate location.


Rule 1.3.2   Business Hours
Regular business hours for the Court Clerk’s Office shall be Monday through Friday of each week from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, excepting Tribal holidays. The Court may also be administratively closed from time to time for staff training, administrative matters or emergencies.


Rule 1.3.3  Court Days

Court will be held in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Courtroom on the third Thursday of each month beginning at 1:00 PM, and such other times as the presiding Judge shall set.


Rule 1.4  |  Form of Pleading; Filing Papers and Documents

Rule 1.4.1  Form

Unless forms are provided by the court, all papers or documents in any proceeding presented for filing must be flat, unfolded, firmly bound together at the top, on white paper of standard quality letter size (8.5″ x 11″) paper. All pleadings and papers must be double spaced, with the exception of quoted and indented material and footnotes, which are single spaced and prepared on one side only. Pages must be numbered consecutively at the bottom. Lines of pages must be numbered in the left margins. Typed pleadings shall be in 12 point. All pleadings and supporting documents in a case shall be filed in the Court through the Court Clerk.

Rule 1.4.2  Style
The following information shall appear on the first page of every paper presented for filing:
  1.  The case number shall be set left of center at line 1.
  2.  The title of the Court shall appear at the center of the page beginning at line 4.
  3. The name of the parties to the action shall be set left of center, beginning at line 9.
  4.  The title of the pleading or paper must be in the space to the right of the name of the parties to the proceeding or action.

Rule 1.4.3  Appendices
The filing party shall attach as an appendix all supporting documents to pleadings. The filing party may provide the required appendix on a USB flash drive or CD at their own expense and effort.

Rule 1.4.4  Signature and Service of Pleadings
Every pleading, motion and other paper shall be signed by the party, the party’s attorney or the party’s advocate. The signature shall be placed on the last page of the pleading, motion or other paper. Below the signature shall be the signer’s address, telephone number and fax number or email address, if any. In all cases having more than one party, it shall be the duty of each party to furnish to each other party who has appeared in the action, copies of all papers served upon any party. After any new or additional party makes its first appearance of record in the proceeding, all parties shall provide to the representative for the newly appearing party copies of all pleadings and papers previously filed by them in the action.

Rule 1.4.5  Acceptance for Filing
The Clerk shall not accept for filing any pleadings or documents which are not properly signed or do not comply with this rule. Any unsigned paper shall be stricken by the Judge unless omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being called to the attention of the attorney, advocate or party. By leave of Court after good cause has been shown, the Court may permit the filing of noncomplying pleadings and documents. Rule 1.4.6  Electronic Filing Pleadings and other documents may be filed by email to the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court Clerk’s office upon the following conditions:
  1. It is identified by case and document title in the subject line of the email;
  2. It is presented as a PDF attachment;
  3. It is clearly legible in its entirety;
  4. It otherwise complies with applicable requirements; and
  5. The party sending the document mails the original document via U.S. Mail.

Rule 1.5  |  Admission to Practice; Eligibility and Procedure, Conduct and Discipline

Every attorney or advocate desiring to practice before the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Courts, shall apply for membership as follows:

Rule 1.5.1  Attorneys Licensed in California
An attorney who is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of California shall apply for admission to the bar of this court. Admission to practice before the Supreme Court of California, in good standing, is a continuing condition of admission to practice before the court. To apply, an applicant must submit:
  1. A letter requesting permission to practice before the Court.
  2. A Certificate of Good Standing from the State Bar of California.
  3. A one-time fee of $100.

The Clerk shall keep and maintain a list of persons who have fulfilled the requirements of this section.

Rule 1.5.2  Attorney Licensed in Another State
An attorney who has been retained or appointed to appear in a particular case and is a licensed attorney in good standing of another state bar association, may appear and practice with the court’s permission and subject to the condition that the attorney who is granted permission to practice under this rule associates a member of the bar admitted pursuant to Rule 1.5.1 as co-counsel with the authority to sign binding stipulations. To apply, an applicant must submit:
  1. Verified application made on the form furnished by the Court Clerk.
  2. A fee of $100.

The court may grant or deny a petition to for permission practice under this rule. The Court may revoke the authority of the attorney permitted to appear under this rule. When all the provisions of this rule are satisfied, the court may enter an order approving the verified application for permission to practice in the particular case. The designated local counsel shall be responsible for and actively participate in the representation of a client in any proceeding that is subject to this rule. Absent special circumstances and a showing of good cause, repeated appearances by any attorney under this rule will be deemed excessive use of this rule and will be cause for denial of the attorney’s verified petition.

Rule 1.5.3  Advocates
A person desiring to serve as an advocate shall apply for admission by completing a verified application to serve as an advocate. Applications are available in the Clerk’s Office. To apply, an applicant must:
  1. Submit an application to the Clerk’s Office.
  2. Pay a fee of $75.
  3. Pass a written exam. The Court Clerk will schedule the Advocate’s Exam. This exam will be administered by the Chief Tribal Judge or the Clerk. The applicant must score 70% or better to pass the exam.
  4. Verify any criminal background history, including no felony convictions.

Each advocate authorized to practice before the court shall pay an annual fee of $75. Any advocate who fails to pay the renewal fees shall be suspended from appearing in any proceeding. The Clerk shall notify the advocate by letter of the suspension. The advocate may be reinstated upon the payment of the annual fee. The Clerk shall keep and maintain a list of persons who have fulfilled the requirements of this section.

Rule 1.5.4  Professional Conduct and Discipline
All persons appearing before the Court pursuant to this Rule shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the court for disciplinary purposes. All representatives admitted to appear before the court shall conduct himself or herself in accordance with Chapter 2, Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 1.5.5  Certification of Persons Admitted to Practice
Each person approved to practice in the Robinson Rancheria Courts shall submit a written sworn statement that he or she:
  1. Has read and is familiar with the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Codes and any rules of court governing conduct and will abide by the provisions thereof;
  2. Has read and is familiar with Chapter 2: Rules of Professional Conduct and will abide by the provisions thereof relating to conduct to the extent that such Rules are not inconsistent with Robinson Rancheria Tribal law; and
  3. Submits to the jurisdiction of the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Courts for disciplinary purposes.

Rule 1.6  |  Appearances; Substitutions; Withdrawal of Representative

When a party has appeared by counsel or an advocate in a case, that individual cannot thereafter appear on his/her own behalf in the case without the consent of the Court. Attorneys or advocates who have appeared for any party shall represent that party in the case and shall be recognized by the court and by all parties as having control of the client’s case, until the representative properly withdraws from representation upon motion to withdraw. Except for good cause shown, no application for withdrawal or substitution shall be granted if a delay of the trial or of the hearing of any other matter in the case would result. Discharge of an attorney or advocate may not be grounds to delay a trial or other hearing. The court, at its discretion, may hear a party in open court although the party is represented by counsel or an advocate.

Rule 1.6.1  Withdrawal
A representative in any case may withdraw:
  1. By order of the court, upon discharge by the client in writing, filed in the case or upon motion and notice as provided in these rules, when no attorney has been retained to replace the attorney withdrawing.
  2. When a new attorney or advocate is substituted in place of the withdrawing attorney or advocate.

Rule 1.6.2  Motion to Withdraw
Any motion to withdraw made by the attorney or advocate shall include the address, or last known address, at which the client may be served with notice of further proceedings taken in the case in the event the application for withdrawal is granted. The representative shall serve a copy of such motion and supporting papers upon the client and all other parties to the action or their attorneys. If such motion is made by the client, the client shall state therein the address at which the client may be served with notice of all further proceedings in the case in the event the application is granted, and shall serve a copy of the application upon the attorney and all other parties to the action or their attorneys or advocate.

Rule 1.6.3  Substitution of Attorney or Advocate
An attorney or advocate may be substituted, but only upon filed Notice of Substitution. The Notice of Substitution shall recite the written consent of both attorneys and the client, all of which shall be filed with the court and served upon all parties or their attorneys who have appeared in the action. Until the Notice of Substitution is filed and served, in accordance with this rule, the attorney or advocate of record is still responsible for representing his/her client(s).

Rule 1.7  |  Time Calculations

In computing time, the day a matter is filed or served is not included in the calculation. The last day is included. When the time for performing is less than 11 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays are not counted.

Rule 1.8  |  Continuances

Continuances of any trial or hearing will be granted only upon order of the Court upon written request and good cause shown. All motions for continuance of a trial or other evidentiary hearing must be signed by the party on whose behalf the motion is made, or contain a certificate of the movant’s attorney that the attorney’s client has knowledge of and has approved the motions. Continuances should be requested at least ten (10) days before the scheduled trial or hearing. Upon written stipulation of the parties, stating the reason therefore, and filed not less than 10 days prior to a jury trial or hearing, or 5 days prior to a bench trial or hearing, the Court will grant one continuance as a matter of course. The Court may continue any matter when necessary upon emergency or other reason or upon necessity due to other business of the Court. Orders granting a motion for a continuance shall specify the period of the continuance.

Rule 1.9 | Stipulations

All stipulations between the parties should be presented to the judge in writing, or announced on the record in open court.

Rule 1.10  |  Trial Jurors

Selection for Jury Duty:

  1. Not less than seven (7) days before the date for the beginning of a jury trial, the judge shall instruct the Clerk to draw, at random, the number of names determined by the judge to be sufficient for the trial. The Clerk shall then issue and cause to be served upon each person, whose name was drawn, a jury summons.
  2. The jury summons shall notify the person being summoned to appear in court on the date set for the beginning of the trial, one hour before the time set for the trial. Failure of a person served with a jury summons to appears shall constitute contempt of court, as the summons shall contain a warning to that effect. Upon request, the judge may excuse any person from jury duty due to sickness, disability, severe hardship, or for other good cause, however, excuse from jury duty is disfavored.
  3. On the day of the trial, the Clerk shall deposit in a box, a ballot containing the names of each of the summoned potential jurors who have appeared by the time set for their appearance. Those persons who names are in the ballot box shall be known as the jury panel. The judge will call the court to order swear in the panel of prospective jurors. The judge shall draw from the ballot box, at random, the names of 14 members of the jury panel or such other number determined by the judge, who shall then be seated in the jury area. The Clerk shall make a list of the named in the order in which they were called.
  4. The court shall permit each party or one representative to examine potential jurors. The court itself may also make such an examination.

Challenges regarding jury members may be taken as follows:

  1. Each side shall be entitled to three peremptory challenges.
  2. Either side may challenge any juror for cause.
  3. An alternate juror shall be treated as a regular juror for the purpose of challenges. The judge and each party shall have unlimited challenges to disqualify a potential juror from the panel for cause, but all such challenges must be made in good faith. “Cause” shall exist on the grounds that a potential juror: a)  is not qualified
    b)  has a personal or financial interest in the outcome of the case
    c)  is related to one of the parties, whether based on the whole blood, half blood, adoption or marriage: spouse, uncle or aunt, niece or nephew, grandparent or grandchild, brother or sister, mother or father including step-parents, son or daughter, first or second cousin, or a spouse of one of the preceding).
    d)  has formed an opinion about the case; or
    e)  is unlikely to be able to render a fair, impartial verdict.
  4. The judge shall excuse any juror he or she believes to be unqualified. After all disqualified jurors have been excused, enough additional ballots shall be drawn by the judge to replace the disqualified persons with new members of the jury panel. The Court Clerk shall add their names to the list in the order in which they were called. The procedure for challenge for cause shall continue until 14 qualified persons remain seated in the jury area.
  5. Each side shall be entitled to three peremptory challenges to remove a person from the jury without stating any reason. A party may waive his or her right a to use a peremptory challenge. Any alternate juror shall be treated as a regular juror for purpose of challenges.
  6. The Court Clerk shall then read aloud the first 6 names on the list, and those persons shall be jurors for the trial. The Clerk shall also read aloud the next two names on the list, and those persons shall be the alternate jurors for the trial. The judge shall swear in the panel of jurors and alternate jurors.
  7. The alternate juror shall be dismissed prior to the jury retiring to deliberation if the juror has not previously been called to replace an original juror who has become, for any reason, unable or disqualified to serve.
  8. Each juror, including each alternate juror, who serves on a jury shall receive such compensation for his or her daily services as may be authorized and established by Rule of Court or resolution of the Robinson Rancheria Business Council.

Rule 1.11  |  Courtroom Conduct and Attire

Proceedings in Court should be conducted with fitting dignity and decorum. All persons shall show respect and courtesy to the Judge, the parties and officers of the court. All persons shall be dressed in a clean, neat, manner. No person shall make a loud or unusual noise, use profane language, or otherwise disturb the proceedings. All active cell phones shall be placed on silent prior to entering the courtroom. No food or drinks are allowed in the courtroom. No person shall enter the courtroom under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.

Rule 1.12  |  Court Transcripts

All proceedings in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court are recorded. Court reporters are neither provided, nor compensated by, the Court for hearings or trials, or to prepare transcripts. Subject to prior approval of the court, any party desiring to have a matter reported may arrange in advance for a certified court reporter to appear at the party’s own expense.

Rule 1.13  |  Administrative/General Orders

The Chief Tribal Judge may issue administrative orders of general application relating to the administration and management of the Court system of and of particular application governing processes and procedures in the absence of law relating to same. Administrative/ General orders shall be numbered using the prefix “GO” followed by the calendar year and the sequential numerical order. Once issued, administrative orders shall be file stamped by the Court Clerk and placed in a binder and posted in conspicuous places at the Clerk’s Office. All administrative orders shall be styled as “In re:” and titled appropriately.


Chapter 2  |  Rules of Professional Conduct


Subchapter A:  Conduct of Judges


Rule 2.1  |  Applicability

These rules apply to anyone who is an officer of the Robinson Rancheria judicial system and who performs judicial functions. These rules apply to both trial and appellate judges who serve the Robinson Rancheria Judiciary (“Court”) on a full-time, part-time, or pro tempore basis and all officers and employees of the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court. As employed in this Rule, the term “judge” also includes justices. For purposes of this rule “lawyer” or “counsel” mean any person admitted to practice law before the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court and “advocate” means an admitted advocate, a court-appointed special advocate or domestic violence advocate.

Rule 2.2  |  Canons of Judicial Conduct

Rule 2.2.1  Canon 1

A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the Judiciary. Independent and honorable judges are indispensable to justice in the Robinson Rancheria. Judges should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of all judges. The provisions of this Rule should be construed and applied to further that objective.

Rule 2.2.2  Canon 2
Judges should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all their activities. Judges should respect and comply with the law and should conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the honesty and impartiality of Robinson Rancheria judges.  Judges should not allow their family, social, or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment. They should not use their positions as judges to advance the private interests of others; nor should they give, or permit others to give, the impression that they are in a special position to influence a judge’s actions or decisions.

Rule 2.2.3  Canon 3
Judges should perform the duties of their office impartially and diligently. The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all other activities. Judicial duties include all the duties of office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply:

  1. Responsibilities in Deciding Cases:
    a)  A judge should be faithful to the law and maintain sufficient knowledge of the rules and relevant tribal and federal law. He should be unswayed by the private interest of particular parties, public outcry for or against a particular ruling, or fear of criticism.
    b)  A judge should maintain order and decorum in proceedings before him/her.
    c)  A judge should be patient, dignified, and courteous to plaintiffs and defendants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, advocates, and others with whom he deals in his official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, staff, court officials, and others subject to his direction and control.d)  A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or his counsel, the right to be heard under Robinson Rancheria law, the Indian Civil Rights Act, and any other relevant source of law, except when applicable law limits the parties who may participate in the proceedings, including but not limited to specialty matters such as juvenile dependency or delinquency proceedings or matters sealed by order of the court.
    e)  Except as authorized by law, the judge shall not initiate nor accept any written or oral communication concerning a pending case, either from a party to the case or from any other person, without either the agreement or presence of all parties. The judge shall not meet with any party to a case, or accept any communication from a party without either the agreement or presence of all other parties. A judge, however, may obtain the advice of a disinterested expert on law applicable to a proceeding before him if he gives notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to respond. These restrictions do not include communications with other judges or with court personnel whose functions it is to aid the judge in carrying out judicial activities.
    f)  A judge should dispose promptly of the business of the court through the consideration, evaluation, analysis and application of applicable law.
    g)  A judge should abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in any court, and should require similar abstention on the part of Court personnel subject to his direction and control. This subsection does not prohibit judges from explaining for public information the procedures of the court.
  2. Administrative Responsibilities:
    a)  A judge should diligently perform his administrative responsibilities, maintain professional competence in judicial administration, and assist as needed with the performance of the administrative responsibilities of other judges and court officials.
    b)  A judge should require his staff and court officials subject to his direction and control to observe the standards of competence, impartiality, and diligence that apply to him.
    c)  A judge should take or initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against counsel for unprofessional conduct of which the judge may become aware.
  3. Disqualification:
    a)  A judge should disqualify him/herself in a proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including, but not limited to instances, where the judge:•  has demonstrated a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts;
    •  is named as a party, or an interested party, in the pending case;
    •  has been counselor attorney for any party in the pending case;
    •  is a material and necessary witness in the pending case;
    •  has a direct, demonstrable, and specific interest in the subject matter of the case whether personal, financial, proprietary, or business-related;
    •  served as a lawyer, advocate, or personal representative in the matter before the Court, or a person with whom the judge has been associated in a professional capacity served as a lawyer, advocate, or personal representative concerning the matter;
    •  or his/her spouse, significant other or domestic partner, or a person in a reasonably close family relationship to either of them:
    –  is a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party;
    –  is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding;
    –  is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding; or
    –  is, to the judge’s knowledge, likely to be a material witness in the proceeding.
    b) Alternative to Disqualification: A judge disqualified pursuant this Rule may, instead of withdrawing from the proceeding, disclose on the record the basis of his disqualification. If based on such disclosure, the parties and lawyers or advocates, independent of the judge’s participation, all agree in writing that the judge’s participation is not prejudicial or that the judge’s financial interest is insubstantial, the judge may preside over the matter.

Rule 2.2.4  Canon
A judge should engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. To the extent that time permits, judges are encouraged to do so, either independently or through a legal/judicial association, judicial conference, or other organization dedicated to the improvement of the law. Therefore, a judge subject to the proper performance of his/her judicial duties may engage in the following activities:

  1. The Judge may speak, write, lecture, teach, and participate in other activities concerning Robinson Rancheria law and custom, the legal system of the Robinson Rancheria, the administration of justice, and the law in general;
  2. The Judge may appear at a public hearing before the Robinson Rancheria Executive or Legislative body or on official matters concerning the Tribe’s legal system and the administration of justice of general concern to Robinson Rancheria citizens, or of personal concern. When speaking to the public, press, or others on matters other than the administration of Robinson Rancheria justice, the Judge shall make it clear that he/she is not speaking in his/her capacity as a Robinson Rancheria Judge; and
  3. The Judge may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization devoted to the improvement of tribal law, tribal legal systems, or the administration of justice. The Judge may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in the management and investments of such funds. He may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning matters pertaining to the organization.

Rule 2.3  |  Extrajudicial Activities

Rule 2.3.1  Professional Activities
A judge may undertake other judicial duties, practice law, write, lecture, teach, speak, and consult on non-legal subjects, appear before public non-legal bodies, and engage in the arts, sports, and other social and recreational activities if such activities do not detract from the dignity of his/her office or interfere with the performance of his/her judicial duties.
Rule 2.3.2  Civic and Charitable Activities
A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon his/her impartiality or interfere with the performance of his/her judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee, or non-legal advisor of a bona fide educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization, whether tribal or otherwise, provided that a judge does not participate if it is likely that the organization will be involved in proceedings which would ordinarily come before him/her or would be involved in adversarial proceedings in any court.
Rule 2.3.3  Financial Activities
A judge should avoid financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on his/her judicial duties, exploit his/her judicial position, or involve him/her in frequent business transactions with lawyers or others likely to come before the Court on which he/she serves.Because it is recognized that judicial positions are part-time positions, the Judge may accept other employment and participate in the operation of a business, legal or otherwise in nature, subject to the following:
  1. A part-time judge should not practice law either as a lawyer or an advocate in a court in which he/she serves, or in the Robinson Rancheria Court of Appeals; and
  2. A part-time judge should not act as a lawyer in any proceeding or related proceeding in which he/she has presided over.

A judge and members of his/her family residing in the household should not accept a gift, bequest, favor, or loan from anyone if the same would affect or appear to affect his/her impartiality. This provision shall not apply to the traditions and customs of the Robinson Rancheria.

Rule 2.3.4  Extra-Judicial Appointments
Unless he/she resigns from office, a judge shall not accept appointment to a Robinson Rancheria governmental committee, commission or other position within the Robinson Rancheria. A judge may, however, serve on non-Robinson Rancheria committees or commissions that are concerned with the general improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice; provided the subject matter is unrelated to Robinson Rancheria law. When invited, a judge may represent the Judicial Branch on ceremonial occasion or in connection with Robinson Rancheria historical, educational and cultural activities.

Rule 2.4  |  Political Activities

Rule 2.4.1  Political Activity

A judge shall maintain the dignity appropriate to the judicial office and should refrain from any political activity that might interfere with the performance of his/her judicial duties. Judges shall not make pledges or promises of conduct in judicial office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office, nor announce his/her views on disputed legal or political issues. Generally, a judge may attend political gatherings, speak at such gatherings on his/her own behalf and/or contribute to a political party.

Rule 2.4.2 Candidates for Office
A judge shall not be a candidate for Robinson Rancheria Council while serving as a judge, nor shall a judge be actively involved in the campaign of other candidates for elected positions of the Robinson Rancheria. In the event a judge desires to run for an elected position of the Robinson Rancheria, he/she shall take a leave of absence from judicial service from the date of filing candidacy documents through the date the election results are finalized. If the campaign is unsuccessful, the judge may resume his/her judicial duties.

Rule 2.4.3 Political Support
While nothing herein should be construed as restricting constitutional and statutory free speech rights, judges must exercise extreme caution when engaging in political discourse on matters that may come before the court or that undermine the objectivity and impartiality of the Judicial Branch. A judge should consider refraining from political statements or actions that could be interpreted in the Robinson Rancheria community as supporting any political position except those that promote self-determination, self-governance and the furtherance of justice. This consideration does not include objective statements of existing law, statements of facts that are public knowledge or activities of electoral politics at other tribal, county, state, or national levels.

Rule 2.5  |  Continuing Educational Activities

A judge, regardless of his/her education and experiences prior to his/her appointment or retention as a judge, shall seek further legal and pertinent non-legal education by attending training seminars, workshops or professional conferences designed to educate judges or improve judicial services.


Subchapter B:  Conduct of Attorneys and Advocates


Rule 2.6  |  Attorneys and Advocates Subject to Rules of Professional Conduct

The American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct shall apply to all attorneys and advocates practicing in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Courts.


Subchapter C:  Conduct of Court Staff


Rule 2.7  |  Court Staff Shall Avoid Impropriety or Appearance of Impropriety

The Court Clerk and Court Staff shall not engage in any activities which are reasonably likely to be perceived as improper. They shall not:

  1. use the position of the office for his/her own personal gain;
  2. allow family, social or other relationships to influence his/her official conduct or judgment;
  3. lend the authority or prestige of their office to advance the private interests
    of others; or
  4. convey or assist others to convey the impression that they or anyone else is in a special position to influence a judge, clerk or other Court staff.

Rule 2.8  |  Sexual Harassment Prohibited

Robinson Rancheria Judges and Court staff shall not make unwanted sexual advances, comments, or innuendos that would constitute sexual harassment, nor shall they sexually harass any Tribal staff, attorney, party or witness.

Rule 2.9  |  Practice of Law Prohibited

The Court Clerk and Court staff shall not give legal advice or otherwise engage in the practice of law while employed by the Court.

Rule 2.10  |  Favoritism of Staff

The Court Clerk shall not engage in favoritism or unfairness in the treatment of subordinate staff.

Rule 2.11  |  Acceptance of Gifts

Neither the Court Clerk, Court staff nor any family member residing in the same household shall accept any gift, bequest, favor, or loan from any person whose interests have come or are likely to come before the Court in the performance of his/her official duties, or from any other person under circumstances which might reasonably be regarded as influencing the performance of the duties of the office. The Clerk shall annually report the value of any gift or bequest, other than from a relative of the first degree by blood, marriage, or custom, in the same manner compensation is reported.

Rule 2.12  |  Nondisclosure of Confidential Communications

The Court Clerk shall abstain from public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in Tribal Court, and shall require all court personnel or staff to similarly abstain. The Clerk shall not disclose to any person any confidential information received in the course of official business, nor shall such information be used by the Clerk for personal gain.

Rule 2.13  |  Undue Influence

The Court Clerk shall not influence or attempt to influence the outcome or assignment of any case or perform any discretionary or ministerial function of the court in a manner which improperly favors or disfavors any litigant, party, witness or attorney, nor imply that the Clerk is in the position to do so. The Clerk shall resist all attempts by any Tribal member, Business Council member, Tribal staff, party or witness to apply undue influence in the Clerk’s performance of his/her duties as Clerk, including any attempt to censor the Clerk’s advocacy for and/or defense of the Court and the Judiciary. The Clerk shall promptly report any such attempt at undue influence to the Chief Judge of the Tribal Court and/or to the members of the Business Council.

Rule 2.14  |  Extra-Official Activities

Court staff shall not engage in any activity which poses or gives the appearance of posing a conflict of interest with their official duties.
Rule 2.14.1  Vocational Activities
Court Staff may write, lecture, teach, and speak, and may engage in arts, sports, and other social and recreational activities, if such activities do not violate the duties of the position, specifically confidentially, detract from the dignity of the office, interfere with the performance of official duties, or adversely reflect on the operation and dignity of the Court.
Rule 2.14.2  Civic and Charitable Activities
Court staff may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not detract from the dignity of the office or interfere with the performance of official duties. A Clerk may serve as an officer, director, trustee, or advisor of a civic or charitable organization and solicit funds for any such organizations, subject to the following limitations:
  1. The Clerk shall not use or permit to be used the prestige of the Clerk’s Office in the solicitation of funds.
  2.  The Clerk shall not solicit funds from subordinate staff to contribute to or participate in any civic or charitable activity directly, but may call their attention to a general fundraising activity.
  3. The Clerk shall not solicit funds from subordinate staff to contribute to or participate in any civic or charitable activity directly, but may call their attention to a general fundraising campaign or event.
  4. The Clerk shall not solicit funds from any lawyer, witness, or other person who the Clerk has come to know as a result of that lawyer, witness, or person coming before the Court.

Rule 2.15  |  Economic Interests

Court Staff shall not perform or be involved in the performance of any of their duties with respect to any case in which he/she knows or has reason to know he/she has a financial interest. Immediately upon a Clerk determining that he/she has a financial interest in the outcome of a case, he/she shall report that fact to the judge assigned to the case who shall immediately assign the case to a deputy clerk or subordinate staff who shall fulfill the Clerk’s duties with respect to that case until a final order or judgment is entered disposing of the case.
Rule 2.15.1  Compensation
Court staff may receive compensation and reimbursement of expenses for quasi-official and extra-official activities permitted by these rules provided the source of such payments does not influence or give the appearance of influencing the Clerk in the performance of his/her official duties or otherwise give the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court staff shall not receive or accept compensation for quasi-official or extra-official activities beyond a reasonable amount or beyond that normally received by others for performing the same duties or functions.
Rule 2.15.2  Expense Reimbursement
Court staff shall not receive or accept any expense reimbursement except the actual cost of travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred by the employee and spouse, where appropriate to the occasion. Any payment in excess of such amount is compensation.

Rule 2.16  |  Political Activity

While performing his/her duties, Court staff shall not:
  1. make speeches for or publicly endorse a political organization, candidate or event;
  2. solicit funds for or contribute to a political organization, candidate or event;
  3. become a candidate for Tribal political office; or
  4. engage in partisan political activities.

Chapter 3  |  Court Clerks


Rule 3.1  |  Duties of the Court Clerk

Rule 3.1.1  Support the Chief Judge in Managing the Court
The Court Clerk shall assist the Chief Judge in managing all cases, creating rules of procedure, creating forms and other documents, and suggesting creation or amendment of ordinances to govern the areas of Tribal Court jurisdiction.
Rule 3.1.2  Help Tribal Members and Others Access the Court
The Court Clerk represents the Court to Tribal members, Business Council members, Tribal staff, law enforcement officers, members of other governments, tribes, and the public. The Clerk shall assist all persons who come to the Court in identifying the appropriate rules, forms and procedures and shall consult the Chief Judge or an Associate Judge with regard to interpretation of the rules and the application of correct procedure. The Clerk shall not provide legal advice, but may direct attention to appropriate Tribal ordinances or adopted Court Rules.
Rule 3.1.3  Prepare Court Dockets, Documents and Forms
The Court Clerk shall prepare and timely serve all summons, warrants, notices of hearing and Orders to Show Cause as specified in any Tribe law and the Court Rules. The Clerk shall prepare court dockets for hearings of the civil, juvenile and small claims courts, prepare and serve written orders as directed by a judge of the court. For every case filed in Tribal Court, the Clerk shall open a case file, assign a case number and create a case docket for filing of documents as specified in the Court Rules at Section 5.3.3. Under the supervision of the Chief Judge, the Court Clerk shall create and amend forms and instructions for use in the Court. The approved forms shall be kept on computer file and a hard copy shall be kept in the Clerk’s Manual for reference and to prepare copies for provision to Court users.
Rule 3.1.4  Record-Keeping and Accounting
The Court Clerk or a deputy shall attend all sessions of the Court and shall make a taped record of each session which is properly labeled and archived with the date, case number, and case name, and shall prepare and maintain minutes of each court proceeding.
The Clerk will provide a receipt of all monies collected in Court fees and promptly (within 24 hours) deposit said monies with the Tribe’s Accounting department. The Accounting department shall provide a receipt of all monies so deposited and that receipt shall be kept with Court records so that a complete record is maintained of all monies deposited with the Court. A cash collection record shall be maintained with a log entry for every receipt of monies by the Clerk.
Rule 3.1.5  Administering Oaths to Witnesses
The Court Clerk shall swear in all witnesses in any court hearing and shall mark for identification all items offered as evidence in a proceeding and as an exhibit, if admitted into evidence by the presiding judge. All exhibits entered into the record at a hearing shall be marked for the party submitting the exhibit and shall be numbered or lettered sequentially. Ordinarily, all exhibits offered by a plaintiff or moving party shall be marked with letters. All exhibits offered by a defendant or opposing party shall be marked with numbers.
Rule 3.1.6  Standards of Performance
The official duties of the Court Clerk shall include all those duties listed above and any other duties of the office prescribed by law, or by order of the Tribal Court. In the performance of these duties, the following standards shall apply:
  1. The Clerk shall at all times respect and comply with the law and act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and the Clerk’s office;
  2. The Clerk shall be patient, dignified, courteous, and fair to all persons dealt with in an official capacity and shall require similar conduct of subordinate staff and others under the direction and control of the Clerk;
  3. The Clerk shall diligently discharge the responsibilities of the office of the Tribal Court Clerk, be faithful to the highest standards of the profession and maintain professional competence.
  4. The Clerk shall in the performance of his/her duties bear in mind the Clerk’s obligations to the general public and legal profession by treating all persons who come in contact with the Clerk’s Office.

Chapter 4  |  Civil Matters


Rule 4.1  |  General Rules Applicable to Civil Matters

Rule 4.1.1  Form and Style
Filed papers and documents should conform to requirements of Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court Rules, Chapter 1. Cases shall be filed into the court beginning with CV, then the year and the next sequential number.
Rule 4.1.2  Line and Page Numbering; Signature
Numbered lines should appear on the left side of the document. Page numbers shall appear on the bottom of each page in sequential order. All pleadings shall be signed by the party, attorney or advocate who is admitted to practice before the court.
Rule 4.1.3  Caption; Names of Parties
Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, the title of the action and case number. In the complaint or petition the title of the action shall include the names of all the parties but in other pleadings it is sufficient to state the name of the first party on each side with an appropriate indication of other parties.
Rule 4.1.4  Filing a Civil Action
A civil action is filed by a complaint or petition. Exhibits, if any, shall be filed with the Court Clerk. Sufficient copies of the complaint or petition and exhibits must be provided, as required by law or court rule, for attachment to the summons. The party should submit any additional copies he wants file stamped.
Rule 4.1.5  Subsequent Filings
Self-represented parties, attorneys or advocates filing motions or pleadings, after the action has been filed shall deliver or mail to opposing counsel of record or self-represented litigants copies thereof on the same day and a certificate of delivery or mailing shall be noted on the original instrument filed.
Rule 4.1.6  Pleading Requirements
The Court Clerk shall not file any pleading or motion unless it contains the following:
  1. the number and style of the case;
  2. a description of the pleading or motion;
  3. the name, address, and telephone number of the filing party (unless such information is sealed by the Court) or his/her attorney of record and name of the law firm filing the document; and
  4. the certificate of delivery or mailing.
Rule 4.1.7  Briefs
A brief may not exceed thirty (30) pages, excluding exhibits, unless permission is granted by the judge to whom the case is assigned. All briefs shall be filed and a copy delivered to the Court Clerk within the required filing period.
Rule 4.1.8  Assignment of Cases
The Court Clerk shall assign the case to the appropriate judge. Thereafter, the assigned judge shall have full superintending charge of the case. If the assigned judge recuses, is disqualified or unable to hear the matter, it shall be transferred to another judge by the Clerk.
Rule 4.1.9  Proof of Service
The person serving the process shall state in his proof the name of the person served and the date, place and method of service. Except where a pleading is served with a summons, service of a pleading, motion or other instrument on a party shall be made by service on his attorney of record where there is one.
Where service of a pleading, motion or other instrument is made by delivery, the delivery shall be made or performed by any person who is 18 years of age or older. Proof of service, whether made by delivery or mail, shall be made by the certificate of an attorney of record, or if made by any other person, by the affidavit of such person. Such certificate or affidavit shall set forth the name of the person served and the date, place and method of service, and it shall be filed with the Court Clerk or it shall be endorsed upon the pleading, motion or instrument that is filed with the clerk. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to the service of a summons or the pleading that is served with the summons.
Rule 4.1.10  Objections to Service and Venue
Objections to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, to the issuance or service of the summons or to the venue of the action are waived and a party submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court if he asks for affirmative relief on a claim which is asserted in a permissive counterclaim, in a cross-claim, or in a third-party petition. The assertion of a compulsory counterclaim against a plaintiff does not waive any of the above objections.
Rule 4.1.11  Diligence in Adjudicating Case
In any case in which summons is not issued or waiver filed within ninety (90) days after the filing of the initial pleading, or service by publication is not requested by the plaintiff within thirty (30) days after return of the unserved summons, the action may be dismissed by the court without notice to the plaintiff.
Where an action is not diligently prosecuted, the court may require the plaintiff to show why the action should not be dismissed. If the plaintiff does not show good cause, why the action should not be dismissed, the court shall dismiss the action without prejudice. A court shall dismiss actions in which no action has been taken for a year.
Rule 4.1.12  Default Judgment
In matters in default in which an appearance, general or special, has been made or a motion or pleading has been filed, default shall not be taken until a motion has been filed in the case and five (5) days’ notice of the date of the hearing is mailed or delivered to the attorney of record for the party in default or to the party in default if he/she is unrepresented or his/her attorney’s address is unknown. If the addresses of both the party and his attorney are unknown, the motion for default judgment may be heard and a default judgment rendered after the motion has been regularly set on the motion docket. It shall be noted on the motion whether notice was given to the attorney of the party in default, to the party in default, or because their addresses are unknown, or to neither.
Notice of taking default is not required where the defaulting party has not made an appearance.
Notice of taking default is not required in the following cases even if the defaulting party has made an appearance:
  1. any case, whether a matrimonial action or otherwise, in which waiver of summons and entry of appearance has been filed;
  2. any case prosecuted under the small claims procedure for money judgment or possession of personal property;
  3. any forcible entry and detainer case, whether or not placed on the small claims docket;
  4. any probate or juvenile proceeding;
  5. any case that is at issue and has been regularly set on the trial docket in which neither the other party nor his or her attorney appears at the trial;
  6. any case as to any party who has filed a disclaimer;
  7. any garnishment proceeding; and
  8. any statutory proceeding following the rendition of final judgment in a case, including but not limited to, enforcement proceedings, or proceedings initiated by a motion or delayed petition for new trial, or by any motion, petition or application to correct, open, modify or vacate the judgment, whether filed in the same action or as a separate action.
Rule 4.1.13  Uniformity of Rulings
When a question of law, fact or procedure has been presented to a judge, the same question, so far as it relates to the same case, shall not thereafter knowingly be presented to another judge without apprising the subsequent judge of the former judge’s ruling or, if no ruling has been made, that such question has already been presented to the first judge.
Where this rule has been violated, an order issued by the second judge may be vacated by him at any time before the entry of a final judgment. Either judge may determine appropriate sanctions against the party and/or the counsel of record for violations.
Rule 4.1.14  Time to Issue Judgments and Orders
Every judge shall issue a written judgment in all civil actions which have been submitted for final adjudication within 90 days from the date the action was taken under submission, unless additional issues are brought to the court’s attention. Judges shall issue a written order on motions filed in civil actions within 60 days from the date of a motion hearing or, if no hearing was conducted, the date the matter was taken under advisement. All orders and judgments shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. Forms that contain standard findings and conclusions may be developed and used.

Rule 4.2  |  Summons

Rule 4.2.1  Content
A summons must:
  1. state the name of the court and the parties;
  2. be directed to the defendant;
  3. state the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney or, if unrepresented, of the plaintiff;
  4. state the time within which the defendant must appear and defend the allegations stated in the complaint or petition;
  5. notify the defendant that a failure to appear and defend with the time stated will result in a default judgment against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint or petition;
  6. be signed by the Clerk; and
  7. bear the Court’s seal.
Rule 4.2.2  Amendments
The court may permit the party to amend the summons or order the Clerk to correct an administrative error and reissue the summons.
Rule 4.2.3  Issuance
On or after filing the complaint or petition, the plaintiff may present a summons to the clerk for signature and seal. If the summons is properly completed, the Clerk must sign, seal, and issue it to the plaintiff for service on the defendant. A summons, or a copy of a summons that is addressed to multiple defendants, must be issued for each defendant to be served.
Rule 4.2.4  Service
A summons must be served with a copy of the complaint or petition. The plaintiff is responsible for having the summons and complaint or petition served within the time allowed and shall furnish the necessary copies to the person who makes service.
Rule 4.2.5  Types of Service
The plaintiff shall serve the summons and complaint/petition in one of the following ways:
  1. Personal Service:
    Any person who is at least eighteen (18) years old and not a party may personally serve a summons and complaint or petition by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with any responsible person at the defendant’s residence or place of employment. Personal service may also be accomplished by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with the defendant at any location where he is found. In either case, the person being served is not required to physically accept the documents from the person serving. The person serving the documents may leave the documents being served within arm’s reach of the accepting party and communicate to them that they are being served. At the plaintiff’s request, the court may authorize service to be made by law enforcement or by a person specially appointed by the court. Costs of service shall be paid by the plaintiff unless the court has waived fees for an indigent party.
  2. Certified or Registered Mail:
    Certified or registered mail/return receipt requested. If a party lives outside  Lyon County, Nevada, the plaintiff may attempt service by delivering copies of the summons and complaint or petition to the defendant’s address by certified mail or registered mail, return receipt requested. The returned signature card or print-out from the United States Postal Service online tracking system shall constitute proof of service.
  3. Service by Publication: 
    If the original summons is returned without being served upon any or all of the defendants, the presiding judge, upon the plaintiff’s request, may issue an order to serve defendants by publication; provided, the plaintiff files a motion and affidavit to proceed with publication, which must include with specificity efforts to personally serve the defendant(s) and why such efforts were unsuccessful, efforts to serve the defendant(s) by certified or registered mail return receipt requested and why such efforts were unsuccessful, and what steps the plaintiff exercised to locate the defendant(s).
The Plaintiff shall cause the summons to be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Lyon County, Nevada authorized by law to publish legal notices. If no newspaper authorized by law to publish legal notices is published, the notice shall be published in some such newspaper of general circulation that is published in an adjoining county. All named parties and their unknown successors who may be served by publication may be included in one notice.
Service by publication is complete when made in the manner and for the time prescribed above and proved by the affidavit of any person having knowledge of the publication. No default judgment may be entered on such service until proof of service by publication is filed with and approved by the Court.
Rule 4.2.6  Personal Service Outside the Exterior Boundaries of the Tribe
Personal service of summons upon a party outside the exterior boundaries of the Tribe may be made by delivering a copy of the summons, together with a copy of the complaint, to the party served in the manner provided by statute or rule of court for service upon a party of like kind within the exterior boundaries of the Tribe. The methods of service are cumulative, and may be utilized with, after, or independently of, other methods of service.
Rule 4.2.7  Statutory Service
Whenever a statute or Code provides for service, service may be made under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by the statute.

Rule 4.3  |  Motions

Rule 4.3.1  General

All motions, responses and replies, if any, must be made in writing prior to a hearing in conformity with this Rule unless the Court grants a motion made orally at a scheduled hearing. In a motion a party must specifically state the grounds therefor and the relief or order sought even where the party relies on defects or deficiencies apparent on the face of the pleading, motion or other instrument. The party filing a document bears responsibility for serving the opposing parties and/or interested or necessary patties copies of the pleading and supporting documents. The party requesting a hearing must serve notice of the motion hearing date, time, and location. All motion pleading shall contain proof of service to all opposing parties.

Rule 4.3.2  Motion Requirements
A party filing a motion shall also serve and file with it a memorandum of points and authorities in support of each ground thereof. The absence of such memorandum may be construed as an admission that the motion is not meritorious and cause for its denial or as a waiver of all grounds not so supported. Motions may be accompanied by affidavits or memoranda in support of the motion. Motions filed in writing may be scheduled for a hearing at the request of the party or on the court’s own motion. Failure to appear at a scheduled motions hearing, or a lack of request for same, shall be deemed a waiver.

Rule 4.3.3  Response to Motions
Within ten (10) days after the service of the motion, the opposing party shall serve and file a written opposition thereto, together with a memorandum of points and authorities and supporting affidavits, if any, stating facts showing why the motion should be denied. Failure of the opposing party to serve and file a written opposition may be construed as an admission that the motion is meritorious and a consent to granting the same.

Rule 4.3.4  Replies
The moving party may serve and file reply points and authorities within five (5) days after service of the answering points and authorities. Upon the expiration of the five-day period, either party may notify the clerk to submit the matter for decision.

Rule 4.3.5  Motion Support
Motions raising fact issues shall be verified by a person having knowledge of the facts, if possible; otherwise, a verified statement by counsel of what the proof will show will suffice until a hearing or stipulation can be provided.

Rule 4.3.6  Affidavits
Factual contentions involved in any pretrial or post-trial motion shall be initially presented and heard upon affidavits. The affidavits to be used by either party shall identify the affiant, the party on whose behalf it is submitted, and the motion or application to which it pertains and shall be served and filed with the motion, or opposition to which it relates. Affidavits shall contain only factual, evidentiary matter, and shall avoid mere general conclusions or argument. Affidavits substantially defective in these respects may be stricken, wholly or in part.

Rule 4.3.7  Objections and Defenses
Where various objections and defenses have been consolidated, the court should hear jurisdictional objections and defenses first. If the court grants a motion on one of the grounds stated therein, the court may decline to rule on other grounds. If an amendment is filed, the adverse party may renew any ground that the court declined to rule upon, and may object to defects in the amended pleading which did not exist in the initial pleading.

Rule 4.3.8  Discovery
Motions All discovery motions shall include the certificate of moving counsel certifying that after consultation with opposing counsel, they are unable to resolve the matter.

Rule 4.3.9  Oral Testimony at Motion Hearings
Oral testimony may be received at a hearing with the approval of the court, or the court may set the matter for a hearing at a time in the future and allow oral examination of the affiants to resolve factual issues shown by the affidavits to be in dispute.

Rule 4.3.10  Disposition
If the grounds supporting a motion are not presented for hearing when called, the court, in its discretion, may continue the hearing or rule on the motion or the motion may be denied as having been withdrawn or abandoned. Where a party consents to the denial of his motion, the motion shall be deemed to have been withdrawn. Motions that are not contested may be disposed of by the announcement of one party without the necessity of all counsel appearing. Where a motion is denied for failure to present or is deemed to have been withdrawn or abandoned, the party asserting the motion waives his objection, and if a responsive pleading is required, the moving party shall be required to serve it within twenty (20) days after notice of the court’s action.

Rule 4.3.11  Joint Motions
Joint motions shall be deemed to be joint and several as to all counts in the prior pleading and as to all parties joining in the motion, and where proper grounds are presented to the court, the court must rule on the sufficiency of each claim or defense as to each party.

Rule 4.3.12  Motion for Reconsideration
Except with the permission of the court after good cause has been shown, a party cannot present any defect or deficiency at the hearing on his motion which was not specifically stated therein, but if the court permits other grounds to be presented, the motion shall be amended in writing, by interlineation if possible, to include the new grounds. Decision shall be rendered without oral argument unless oral argument is ordered by the court, in which event the court shall set a date and time for hearing. This subdivision is not applicable to hearings on new trial motions.

Rule 4.3.13  Summary Judgment Motions
Except by leave of the court, all motions for summary judgment must be submitted to the court at least 30 days prior to the date the case is set for trial.

Rule 4.3.14  Motions Decided on Briefs
Motions may be decided by the court without a hearing, and where this is done, the court shall notify the parties of its ruling by mail.

Rule 4.4  |  Pretrial Proceedings and Trial Statements

Rule 4.4.1  Pretrial Meeting
At least ten (10) days prior to trial, counsel for all parties shall be required to meet and stipulate to as many facts and issues as possible, or state why they cannot do so. A certification that this rule has been complied with shall be annexed to the trial statement and made a part thereof.
Rule 4.4.2  Trial Statements
At least 5 days prior to a civil trial, each party shall file and serve on all other parties a trial statement which shall set forth the following matters in the following order:
  1. A concise statement of the claimed facts supporting the party’s claims or defenses.
  2. A statement of admitted or undisputed facts.
  3. A statement of issues of law supported by a memorandum of points and authorities.
  4. Non-jury cases, a list of summaries or schedules referring to attached itemized exhibits concerning any subject matter which involves accounting, computation, chronology, or similar detail data reasonably calling for orderly itemization (e.g., wages, income, expenses, inventories, business operations, tax computations, disability periods, property losses, itemizations of claimed losses or injuries, the data and reasons upon which an expert bases his or her opinion–not the opinion itself) that clearly reflects the claims, defenses, or offers of proof of the party in such respects, together with reference to the records or other source upon which such summaries or schedules are based.
  5. The names and addresses of all witnesses, except impeaching witnesses.
  6. A list of special questions requested to be propounded to prospective jurors.
  7. Any other appropriate comment, suggestion, or information that may assist the court in the trial or disposition of the case.

Rule 4.5  |  Civil Jury Verdict

A verdict or a finding of five (5) or more jurors shall be taken as a verdict or finding of a jury composed of six (6) members.

Chapter 5  |  Quasi-Criminal Matters


Subchapter A:  General Provisions


Rule 5.1  |  Preliminary Provisions

This Chapter governs the procedure in all ticketed, quasi-criminal proceedings in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court and all preliminary or supplementary procedures as specified herein. This Chapter is intended to provide for the just determination of every quasi-criminal proceeding. It shall be construed to secure simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration of justice and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay.
In any case wherein no particular procedure is provided herein, resort shall be made to the Robinson Rancheria Tribe Codes, or other applicable law, subject always to the rights of the defendant. If no procedure is provided in either this Chapter, the Code, or other law, the court may proceed in any lawful fashion while protecting the rights of the defendant.

Rule 5.2  |  Prosecution of Offenses

No person shall be punished for an offense except upon a legal conviction, including a plea or admission of guilt or nolo contendere in open court, by a court of competent jurisdiction, provided, however, that no disposition of one accused of an offense prior to trial in accordance with this Chapter shall be deemed punishment.
All proceedings shall be prosecuted in the name of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe as plaintiff, against the person charged with an offense, referred to as the defendant.
The case number prefix assigned to quasi-criminal actions shall be CR followed by the year and sequential case number.

Rule 5.3  |  Rights of the Defendant

In all quasi-criminal proceedings, the defendant shall have the following rights:
  1. To appear and defend in person or by counsel at the defendant’s own expense. No defendant shall have the right to have appointed procession counsel provided at the Tribe’s expense.
  2. To be informed of the nature of the charges against the defendant and to have a written copy thereof.
  3. To testify in his or her own behalf, or to refuse to testify regarding the charge, provided, however, that once a defendant takes the stand to testify on any matter relevant to the immediate proceeding, the defendant shall be deemed to have waived all right to refuse to testify in that immediate criminal proceeding. The defendant shall not, however, be deemed to have waived the right to remain silent in other distinct phases of the criminal trial process.
  4. To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against the defendant.
  5. To compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses in the defendant’s  own behalf.
  6. To have a speedy public trial by an impartial judge and, upon request for an offense punishable by imprisonment, to have a trial by jury of not less than six persons.
  7. To appeal in all cases.
  8. To prevent a present spouse from testifying against the other spouse concerning any matter, which occurred during such marriage, except:
    a)  in any case in which the offense charged is alleged to have been committed against the spouse or the immediate family, or the children of either the spouse or the defendant, or against the marital relationship; and
    b)  any testimony by the spouse in the defendant’s behalf will be deemed a waiver of this privilege.
  9. Not to be twice put in jeopardy by the Nation for the same offense.

Rule 5.4  |  Limitation of Prosecution

No act or failure to act shall be subject to criminal prosecution unless made an offense by the Tribe’s Law and Order Code. Every quasi-criminal proceeding shall be commenced within one year of the date of commission and diligent discovery of the offense, or prosecution for that offense shall be forever barred.

Rule 5.4.1  Multi-Day Offenses
If an offense is committed by actions occurring on two or more separate days, the offense will be deemed to have been committed on the day the final act causing the offense to be completed occurred.

Rule 5.4.2  Date of Diligent Discovery
The date of diligent discovery is the date at which, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, some person other than the defendant and the co-conspirator(s) know or should have known that an offense had been committed.

Rule 5.4.3  Time Calculation
Time spent outside the jurisdiction of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe for the purpose of avoiding prosecution shall not count toward the limitation period to begin prosecution.

Subchapter B:  Proceedings Before Trial


Rule 5.5  |  The Complaint

Every quasi-criminal proceeding shall be commenced by the filing of a complaint. The complaint shall contain:
  1. the name and address of the court;
  2. the name of the defendant, if known; if not known, another name plus whatever description of the defendant is known;
  3. the signature of the Tribal Prosecutor or assistant with the typewritten name;
  4. a written statement describing in ordinary and plain language the facts of the offense alleged to have committed including a reference to the time, date, and place as nearly as may be known. The offense may be alleged in the language of the statute violated;
  5. the person against whom or against whose property the offense was committed and the names of the witnesses of the Tribe, if known, otherwise no statement need be made; and
  6. the general name and Tribal Code title and section number of the alleged offense.
Rule 5.5.1  Joinder of Offenses
Two or more offenses may be charged in one complaint so long as they are set out in separate counts and:
  1. They are part of a common scheme or plan.
  2. They arose out of the same transaction.
Rule 5.5.2  Joinder of Defendants
Two or more defendants may be joined in one complaint if they are alleged to have participated in a common act, scheme, or plan to commit one or more offenses. Each defendant need not be charged in each count.
Rule 5.5.3  Error
No minor omission from or error in the form of the complaint shall be grounds for dismissal of the case unless some significant prejudice against the defendant can be shown to result therefrom.
Rule 5.5.4  Time of Filing Complaint
A complaint may be filed at any time within the period prescribed for prosecution provided. The complaint shall be filed as promptly as possible–preferably no later than the time of arraignment.

Rule 5.6  |  Summons to Appear

If it appears from the complaint that an offense has been charged against the defendant, a judge of the tribal court shall issue a summons to the defendant to bring the defendant before the court. The complaint shall be supported by the affidavit of some person having knowledge of the facts of the case through which the judge can determine that probable cause exists to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it.
Rule 5.6.1  Contents of Summons
A summons shall order the defendant to appear before a judge on some certain day to enter a plea to the charge, and a notice that upon the defendant’s failure to appear that the defendant may be further charged with disobeying a lawful order of the court.
Rule 5.6.2  Service of Summons
The following rules govern service of summons:
  1. Summons may be served by any Tribal, state or federal law enforcement officer. Service may be made at any place within or without the jurisdiction of the Robinson Rancheria Tribe.
  2. Summons should be served at a person’s home between the hours of 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM, but may be served at other times.
  3. The date, time, and place of service shall be written on the summons along with the signature of the person serving such, and the warrant returned to the court. A copy, so signed, shall be given to the person served at the time of service.

Rule 5.7  |  Criminal Citations

Whenever a law enforcement officer would be empowered to make an arrest without a warrant for an offense, but has reasonable grounds to believe an immediate arrest is not necessary to preserve the public peace and safety, the officer may, with discretion, issue the defendant a citation instead of taking said person into custody. Such citation, signed by the law enforcement officer, shall be considered a court order, and may be filed in the action in lieu of a formal complaint, unless the court orders that a formal complaint be filed.
Rule 5.7.1  Contents of Citation
A Criminal Citation shall contain:
  1. The name and address of the court, the name or alias and description of the defendant, a description of the offense charged and the signature of the law enforcement officer who issued the citation.
  2. an agreement by the defendant to appear before a judge on a day certain to answer to the charge and the signature of the defendant;
  3. a notice that upon the defendant’s failure to appear, the defendant may be further charged with failure to obey a lawful order of the court; and
  4. one copy of the citation shall be given to the defendant and two copies shall be delivered to the Tribal Prosecutor.

Rule 5.8  |  Arraignment

Rule 5.8.1  Arraignment Defined
Arraignment is the bringing of an accused person before the court, informing the accused of the charge and of his or her rights, receiving the plea. Arraignment shall be held in open court upon the appearances of an accused in response to a criminal summons or citation.
Rule 5.8.2  Procedure at Arraignment
Arraignments shall be conducted in the following order:
  1. The Clerk shall provide a copy of the complaint and a form setting forth the defendant’s rights.
  2. The Judge will read the entire complaint and state the minimum and maximum authorized penalties.
  3. The Judge should determine that the defendant understands the charge.
  4. The Judge should inform the defendant his rights and ask Defendant to sign his/her rights form.
  5. The Judge shall ask the defendant if he or she wishes to obtain counsel and, if the defendant so desires, the defendant will be given a reasonable time to obtain counsel at his own expense. If the defendant is allowed time to obtain or consult with counsel, the defendant shall not be required to enter a plea until the date set for the appearance.
  6. The Judge will then ask the defendant whether he or she wishes to plead “Guilty,” “Nolo contendere” or “Not Guilty.”
Rule 5.8.3  Receipt of Plea at Arraignment
The defendant shall plead “Guilty,” “Nolo Contendere,” or “Not Guilty” to the offense charged.
  1. If the defendant refuses to plead, the judge shall enter a plea of “Not Guilty” for the defendant.
  2. If the defendant pleads “Not Guilty,” the judge shall set a trial date and conditions for bail prior to trial.
  3. If the defendant pleads “Nolo Contendere” or “Guilty” the judge shall question the defendant personally to determine that he or she understands the nature of his or her action, the rights that are being waived, and that such action is voluntary. The judge may refuse to accept a Guilty plea and enter a plea of “Not Guilty” for the defendant. If the guilty plea is accepted, the judge may immediately sentence the defendant or order a sentencing hearing.
  4. The defendant, with the consent of the court and of the prosecuting attorney, may plead Guilty to any lesser offense than that charged which is included in the offense charged in the complaint or to any lesser degree of the offense charged.

Rule 5.9  |  Withdrawing Guilty Plea

A motion to withdraw a plea of guilty may be made only before a sentence is imposed, deferred, or suspended, except that the court may allow a guilty plea to be withdrawn to correct a manifest injustice.

Rule 5.10  |  Pleading and Motions before Trial: Defenses and Objections

Pleadings in criminal proceedings shall consist of the complaint or citation and the plea of either Guilty, Nolo Contendere or Not Guilty. All other pleas and motions shall be made in accordance with this Chapter.
Motions raising defenses and objections may be made as follows:
  1. Any defenses or objections that are capable of determination other than at trial may be raised before trial by motion.
  2. Defenses and objections based on defects in the institution of the prosecution of the complaint other than that it fails to show jurisdiction in the court or fails to charge an offense may be raised on motion only before trial or such shall be deemed waived, unless the court for good cause shown grants relief from such waiver. Lack of jurisdiction or failure to charge an offense may be raised as a defense or noticed by the court on its own motion at any stage of the proceeding.
  3. Such pretrial motions shall be made in writing and filed with the court at least ten (10) days before the day set for trial. Reponses shall be filed and served at least three (3) business days before the trial setting. Such motions will be argued before the Court on the date of trial unless the court directs otherwise. Decision on such motions shall be made by the court.
  4. If a motion is decided against a defendant, the trial shall proceed as if no motion were made. If a motion is decided in favor of a defendant, the judge shall alter the proceedings, allow an interlocutory appeal to be taken as provided in the appellate rules, or enter judgment as is appropriate in light of the decision.

Rule 5.11  |  Concurrent Trial of Charges

The court may order a single defendant tried on more than one complaint at a single trial.
If it appears that a defendant or the Robinson Rancheria Tribe is prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or other defendants for trial, the court may order separate complaints and may order separate trials or provide such other relief as justice requires.

Rule 5.12  |  Discovery and Inspection

Tribal police or the prosecutor shall, upon request, permit the defendant, or the defendant’s attorney, to inspect and copy any statements, or copies thereof, made by the defendant, if such are within the possession or control of or reasonably obtainable by the police or prosecution. The police and the prosecution shall make similarly available copies of reports of physical, mental or scientific test or examinations relating to or done on the defendant.
The defendant, or the defendant’s attorney, shall reveal by written notice to the court and prosecutor, at least five (5) working days before trial, the names and addresses of any witnesses upon whom the defense intends to rely to provide an alibi or insanity defense for the defendant. Failure to provide such notice will prevent the use of such witnesses by the defense unless it can be shown by the defense that prior notice was impossible or that no prejudice to the prosecution has resulted, in which case the judge may order the trial delayed or make other orders as tend to assure a just determination of the case.

Rule 5.13  |  Subpoena

The defendant and the prosecutor shall have the right to subpoena any witnesses they deem necessary for the presentation of their case, including subpoenas issued in blank. Subpoenas in criminal cases shall be issued, served and returned as in civil cases.
A subpoena may be served any place within the jurisdiction of the Court, and as provided for service in civil cases.
Failure, without adequate excuse, to obey a properly served subpoena may be deemed a contempt of court and prosecution thereof may proceed upon the order of the court. No contempt shall be prosecuted unless a return of service of the subpoena has been made on which is endorsed the date, time and place of service and the person performing such service.

Subchapter C:  Trial


Rule 5.14  |  Trial by Jury or by the Court

All trials of offenses shall be by the court without a jury unless the defendant files a request for a jury trial not less than ten business days prior to the date set for trial.
Rule 5.14.1  Composition of Juries
Juries shall be composed of six (6) members with two (2) alternates, if alternates are deemed advisable by the court.
Rule 5.14.1  Trials Without a Jury
In a case tried without a jury, the judge shall make a general finding of guilt or innocence and shall, upon request of any party, make specific findings of fact and law which may be embodied in a written decision.

Rule 5.15  |  Criminal Jury Verdicts

Any verdict by a jury in a criminal matter must be unanimous.

Rule 5.16  |  Order of Trial

The trial of all criminal offenses shall be conducted in the following manner:
  1. The court shall call the case name and number and ask the parties if they are ready to proceed. If the parties are not ready, the court may continue the case or direct the case to proceed in its discretion.
  2. If the parties are ready to proceed and if the case is to a jury, the court will begin jury selection in accordance with these Rules.
  3. The court will request the prosecutor to read the complaint and to make the opening statement. Prior to reading the complaint, the court will explain to the jury that the complaint is not evidence, but is being read for the sole purpose of informing the defendant and the jury of the offense charged against the defendant. The court should also inform the jury that the statements of counsel are not evidence but are presented so that the jury will have an opportunity to hear what counsel for each party expects the evidence to show.
  4. The prosecutor should then read the complaint and briefly present the facts that the Robinson Rancheria Tribe intends to prove to show the offense. No argument of the facts or law shall be allowed.
  5. The defense may then make an opening statement or may reserve their opening statement until the beginning of the presentation of the defense evidence.
  6. The prosecutor shall then present the Robinson Rancheria Tribe’s evidence followed by the defendant’s presentation of defense evidence. After the defendant has presented evidence, the prosecutor may present evidence in rebuttal.
  7. The prosecutor shall then present a closing argument, the defendant a closing argument, and the prosecutor shall be allowed to present a rebuttal.
  8. If trial is to a jury, the judge should give them instructions and they shall retire to decide their verdict. If trial is to the judge, the judge shall then make a decision or announce the time at which the decision will be presented.
  9. If the verdict is Not Guilty, the defendant should be discharged and bail exonerated.
  10. If the verdict is Guilty, the judge may impose sentence immediately or may hold a hearing at a later time or date to decide on an appropriate sentence.
  11. After sentencing the judge may hold a hearing to determine an appeal bond if any appeal is filed.

Rule 5.17  |  Judge Disability

Rule 5.17.1  Judge Disability During the Trial
If by reason of death, sickness or other disability, the judge before whom a jury trial has commenced is unable to proceed with the trial, any other tribal judge may, upon certifying that he or she has familiarized himself with the record of the trial, proceed with the trial.
Rule 5.17.2  Judge Disability After the Verdict or Finding
If by reason of death, sickness and other disability, the judge before whom the defendant has been tried is unable to perform the required duties of a judge after the verdict or finding of Guilty, any other Tribal Court judge may perform those duties unless such judge feels he or she cannot fairly perform those duties in which case a new trial may be granted. A new trial shall not be granted if all that remains to be done is the sentencing of a defendant.

Rule 5.18  |  Evidence

The admissibility of evidence and the competence and privileges of witnesses shall be governed by the rules of evidence found at Chapter 4.

Rule 5.19  |  Expert Witnesses

Either party may call expert witnesses of their own selection and each bear the cost of such.

Rule 5.20  |  Motion for Judgment of Acquittal

The court, on motion from the defendant or on its own motion, shall order the entry of a judgment of acquittal of one or more offenses charged in the complaint after the evidence of either side is closed and if the evidence is insufficient as a matter of law to sustain a conviction of such offenses. A motion for acquittal by the defendant does not affect any right to present evidence.
If a motion for judgment of acquittal is made at the close of all the evidence, the court may reserve decision on the motion, submit the case to the jury and decide the motion any time either before or after the jury returns its verdict or is discharged.

Rule 5.21  |  Jury Instructions

At the close of evidence or at such earlier time during the trial as the court reasonably directs, any party may file written requests that the court instruct the jury on the law as set forth in the request. At the same time, copies of such requests shall be furnished to adverse parties. The court shall inform counsel of its proposed action upon the requests prior to the arguments of counsel to the jury, but the court shall instruct the jury after the arguments are completed. No party may assign as error any portion of the charge or omission therefrom unless the party objects thereto before the jury retires to consider its verdict, stating distinctly the matter in which the party objects and the grounds of the objection. Opportunity shall be given out the hearing and out of the presence of the jury.

Rule 5.22  |  Verdicts

Rule 5.22.1  Unanimous Verdict
The verdict of a jury shall be unanimous. It shall be returned by the jury to the judge in open court. If the jury is unable to agree, the jury may be discharged and the defendant tried against before a new jury.
Rule 5.22.2  Multiple Defendants or Charges
If there are multiple defendants or charges, the jury may at any time return its verdict as to any defendants or charges to which it has agreed and continue to deliberate on the others.
Rule 5.22.3  Lesser Offenses
If the evidence is found to support such verdict, the defendant may be found guilty of a lesser included offense or attempt to commit the crime charged or a lesser included offense having been formally charged with the lesser included offense or attempt.
Rule 5.22.4  Polling the Jury
Upon return of the verdict, the jury may be polled at the request of either party. If upon the poll there is not unanimous concurrence, the jury may be directed to retire for further deliberation or may be discharged.
Rule 5.22.5  Discharge of the Jury
After return of the verdict, the jury shall be discharged.

Subchapter D:  Judgment and Sentence


Rule 5.23  |  Judgment

A judgment of conviction shall set forth in writing the charge, plea, verdict or findings, and the sentence imposed. If the defendant is found not guilty or is otherwise entitled to be released, judgment shall be entered accordingly. The judgment shall be signed by the judge and entered by the Clerk.

Rule 5.24  |  Sentence

Sentence shall be imposed without unreasonable delay in accordance with the provisions of the criminal statute or ordinance violated. Pending sentence, the court may commit the defendant to jail or continue or alter the bail. Before imposing sentence, the court shall allow counsel an opportunity to speak on behalf of the defendant and shall address the defendant personally and ask if the defendant wishes to make a statement on his or her own behalf and to present any information in mitigation of punishment. Rule 5.24.1  Notification of Right to Appeal After imposing sentence, the court shall inform the defendant of the right of appeal. If the defendant so requests, the clerk must immediately file a notice of appeal on behalf of the defendant. At any time after a notice of appeal is filed, the court may entertain a motion to set bail pending appeal. Rule 5.24.2  Credit for Time Served Time served in jail prior to the judgment and sentence while awaiting or during trial shall be allowed as a credit toward any sentence of imprisonment imposed

Rule 5.25  |  New Trial

The court, on motion of a defendant, may grant a new trial if required in the interest of justice. If trial was by the court without a jury, the court, on motion of a defendant for a new trial, may vacate the judgment, if entered, take additional testimony, and direct the entry of a new judgment. A motion for a new trial based on the ground of newly discovered evidence may be made only within one month after final judgment, but if an appeal is pending, the court may grant the motion only on remand of the case. A motion for a new trial based on any other grounds shall be made within seven days after verdict or finding of guilty or within such further time as the court may fix during the seven-day period.

Rule 5.26  |  Arrest of Judgment

The court, on motion of a defendant, shall dismiss the action if the complaint does not charge an offense or if the court was without jurisdiction of the offense charged. The motion in arrest of judgment shall be made within seven days after verdict or finding of guilty or plea of guilty, or within such further time as the court may fix during the seven-day period.

Rule 5.27  |  Correction or Reduction of Sentence

The court may correct an illegal sentence at any time and may correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner within thirty days after the sentence is imposed, or within thirty days after receipt by the court of a mandate issued upon affirmance of the judgment or dismissal of the appeal. The court may also reduce a sentence upon revocation of probation.

Rule 5.28  |  Clerical Mistakes

Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record and errors in the record arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time and after such notice, if any, as the court orders.

Subchapter E:  Appeal


Rule 5.29  |  Right of Appeal; How Taken

Appeals shall be taken in accordance with the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Codes. A notice of appeal must be filed within ten (10) days of the entry of the final judgment and sentence or other appealable order and such must be served on all parties except the party filing the appeal.

Rule 5.30  |  Stay of Judgment and Relief Pending Review

A sentence to pay a fine or fine and costs, may be stayed pending appeal upon motion of the defendant, but the court may require the defendant to pay such money, subject to return if the appeal should favor the defendant and negate the requirement for paying such.

An order placing the defendant on probation may be stayed on motion of the defendant if an appeal is taken.

Subchapter F:  Bail


Rule 5.31  |  Release in Cases Prior to Trial

Any person charged with an offense, shall, at the appearance before a judge or magistrate of the court, be ordered released pending trial on personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by such judicial officer.
When such determination is made, the judge shall, in addition to release on personal recognizance or execution of an unsecured appearance bond, impose any combination of additional conditions that may include:
  1. Remain in the custody a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise the person released.
  2. Actively seek or maintain employment.
  3. Abide by restrictions on the travel, association, or place of abode during the period of release.
  4. Refrain from attempting to influence, injure or retaliate against an officer, witness or victim.
  5. Report on regular basis to a designated law enforcement agency.
  6. Comply with a specified curfew.
  7. Refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other
  8. dangerous weapon.
  9. Refrain from the use of alcohol or illegal drugs or controlled substances.
  10. Undergo medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment, including treatment for drug and alcohol dependency and remain in a specified institution if required for that purpose.
  11. Require the execution of an appearance bond in a specified amount and the deposit in the registry of the court, in cash or other security as directed, of a sum not to exceed ten (10) percent of the amount of the bond, such deposit to be returned upon the performance of the conditions of release.
  12. Require the execution of a bail bond with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash in lieu thereof.
  13. Impose any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required and to assure the safety of any other person or the community.
In determining which conditions of release will reasonably assure appearance, the judicial officer shall, on the basis of available information, take into account:
  1. the nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
  2. the weight of the evidence against the accused;
  3. the accused family ties;
  4. employment;
  5. financial resources;
  6. character and mental condition;
  7. the length of residence in the community;
  8. the record of prior convictions; and/or
  9. the record of appearance at court proceedings or of flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at court proceedings.

Chapter 6  |  Evidence


Subchapter A:  General Provisions


Rule 6.1  |  Scope and Applicability

These Rules of Evidence govern proceedings in the Robinson Rancheria Tribal Court. They apply generally to civil actions and proceedings, to criminal cases and proceedings, to contempt proceedings and to juvenile proceedings.
These rules do not apply to preliminary examinations in criminal cases; sentencing, or granting or revoking probation or parole; issuance of warrants for arrest; criminal summonses and search warrants; and proceedings with respect to release on bail
or otherwise.

Rule 6.2  |  Purpose and Construction

These rules shall be construed to secure fairness in administration of justice, elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay, and promotion of growth and development of the law to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.

Rule 6.3  |  Rulings on Evidence

Rule 6.3.1  Effect of Erroneous Ruling
Error may not be predicated on a ruling which admits or excludes evidence unless a substantial right of the party is affected, and
  1. Objection:
    In case the ruling is one admitting evidence, a timely objection or motion to strike is made and appears on the record, stating the specific ground for the objection, if such is not obvious from the context; or
  2. Offer of Proof:
    In case the ruling is one excluding evidence, the substance of the evidence was made known to the court by offer of proof or was apparent from the context within which the question was asked.
Rule 6.3.2  Record of Offer and Ruling
The court may add any other or further statement which shows the character of the evidence, the form in which it was offered, the objection made, and the ruling thereon. It may direct the making of an offer of proof in question-and-answer form.
Rule 6.3.3  Hearing of the Jury
In jury cases, proceedings shall be conducted to the extent practicable, so as to prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means, such as making statement or offers of proof or asking questions in the hearing of the jury.
Rule 6.3.4  Plain Error
Nothing in the rule precludes taking notice of plain errors affecting substantial rights although they were not brought to the attention of the court.

Rule 6.4  |  Preliminary Questions

Rule 6.4.1  Questions of Admissibility Generally
Preliminary questions concerning the qualifications of a person to be a witness, the existence of a privilege, or the admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the court. In making its determination, the court is not bound by the Rules of Evidence except those pertaining to privileges.
Rule 6.4.2  Relevancy Conditioned on Fact
When the relevancy of evidence depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court shall admit it subject to the introduction of evidence sufficient to support a finding that the condition of fact was fulfilled.
Rule 6.4.3  Hearing of the Jury
Hearings on the admissibility of confessions shall in all cases be conducted out of the hearing of the jury. Hearings on other preliminary matters shall be so conducted when the interests of justice require, or when an accused is a witness and so requests.
Rule 6.4.4  Testimony by Accused
The accused does not, by testifying upon a preliminary matter, become subject to cross-examination as to other issues in the case.
Rule 6.4.5  Weight and Credibility
This rule does not limit the right of a party to introduce before the jury evidence relevant to weight or credibility.

Rule 6.5  |  Limited Admissibility

When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.

Subchapter B:  Relevancy and Its Limits


Rule 6.6  |  Definition: Generally Admissible

Relevant evidence means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action, more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
All evidence is generally admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Robinson Rancheria Constitution, by acts of the Business Council, by these rules or other rules prescribed by the Court pursuant to statutory authority. Evidence that is not relevant is not admissible.

Rule 6.7  |  Exclusion of Relevant Evidence

Evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury or it will unduly delay, waste time or be a needless presentation of cumulative evidence.

Rule 6.8  |  Character Evidence not Admissible; Exceptions; Other Crimes

Evidence of the character or character trait of a witness or the accused is not admissible if it is to be used to prove conduct or for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion.
Rule 6.8.1  Exceptions
  1. The accused may offer evidence of his own pertinent character traits, and the prosecution may do so to rebut the same.
  2. Evidence of a pertinent character trait of the victim, if offered by the accused, except in rape, assault with intention to commit rape, or if offered by the prosecution to rebut the same is admissible.
  3. Evidence of other crimes or wrongs or acts for the purpose of showing motive, intent, opportunity, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity or absence of mistake or accident.

Rule 6.9  |  Methods of Proving Character Trait

Rule 6.9.1  Reputation or Opinion
In all cases in which evidence of character or a trait of character of a person is admissible, proof may be made by testimony as to reputation or by testimony in the form of an opinion. On cross-examination, inquiry is allowable into relevant specific instances of conduct.
Rule 6.9.2  Specific Instances of Conduct
In cases in which character or trait of character of a person is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, proof may be made of specific instances of that person’s conduct.
Rule 6.10  |  Habit or Routine Practice
Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eye witnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.

Rule 6.11  |  Subsequent Remedial Measures

When, after an event, measures are taken which, if taken previously, would have made the event less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of subsequent measures when offered for another purpose, such as proving ownership, control or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted or impeached.

Rule 6.12  |  Compromise and Offers of Settlement

Evidence of accepting or offering a compromise of a disputed claim shall not be admissible to prove liability or invalidity of the claim or amount. Evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations is inadmissible.

Rule 6.13  |  Payment or Offer of Payment of Medical or Similar Expenses

Evidence of furnishing or offering or promising to pay medical, hospital or similar expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible to prove liability for the injury.

Rule 6.14  |  Inadmissibility of Pleas, Plea Discussions and Related Statements

Except as otherwise provided in this rule, evidence of the following is not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, admissible against the defendant who made the plea or was a participant in the plea discussions:
  1. A plea of guilty that was later withdrawn.
  2. Any statement made in the course of any proceedings under Rule 27 of the Robinson Rancheria Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or comparable state procedure regarding the foregoing plea.
  3. Any statement made in the course of plea discussions with an attorney for the prosecuting authority which do not result in a plea of guilty or which result in a plea of guilty later withdrawn.
  4. However, such a statement is admissible:
    a) in any proceeding wherein another statement made in the course of the same plea or plea discussions has been introduced and the statement ought, in fairness, be considered contemporaneously with it; or
    b) in a criminal proceeding for perjury or false statement if the statement was made by the defendant under oath, on the record and in the presence of counsel.

Rule 6.15  |  Liability Insurance

Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue of whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, and ownership or control, bias or prejudice of a witness.

Rule 6.16  |  Sexual Behavior

Rule 6.16.1  When Inadmissible
In a criminal case in which a person is accused of a sexual offense against another person, the following is not admissible:
  1. Evidence of reputation or opinion regarding other sexual behavior of the victim of the sexual offense alleged.
  2. Evidence of specific instances of sexual behavior of an alleged victim with persons other than the accused offered on the issue of whether the alleged victim consented to the sexual behavior with respect to the sexual offense alleged.
Rule 6.16.2  Exceptions
This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of:
  1. specific instances of sexual behavior if offered for a purpose other than the issue of consent, including proof of the source of semen, pregnancy, disease, injury, mistake or the intent of the accused; or
  2. false allegations of sexual offenses; or
  3. sexual behavior with other than the accused at the time of the event, giving rise to the sexual offense alleged.

Subchapter C:  Privileges


Rule 6.17  |  Policy

It is the policy of the Tribal Court to encourage and foster certain relationships of trust and confidence. Thus, it is believed that the probative value of certain communications is substantially outweighed by the impairment of those relationships which would result from disclosure.

Rule 6.18  |  General

  1. The communication must come within the rule.
  2. Generally, the privilege does not cease upon the termination of the relationship.
  3. The privilege does not extend to communications in furtherance of an
  4. illegal purpose.
  5. Communications not made in confidence (i.e., intended to be relayed to third parties, made in the presence of third parties, etc.) are not within the privilege.
  6. Waiver of the privilege can only be affected by the holder; (i.e., by the client or patient) and not by the professional. In matters of non-professional privilege, the waiver can only be affected by the one making the communications.
  7. A third person unknown to the privilege holder cannot testify about the communication between the parties if the conversation took place in a location where there was a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Rule 6.19  |  Attorney–Client

Rule 6.19.1  Client
Client is a person, corporation, public officer, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private, who is rendered professional legal services by a lawyer or who consults with a lawyer with the view of obtaining professional legal services from the lawyer.
Rule 6.19.2  Lawyer
Lawyer is a person authorized or reasonably believed by the client to be authorized to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction, state or nation.
Rule 6.19.3  Confidential
A communication is confidential if it is not intended to be disclosed to any third party.
Rule 6.19.4  Examinations Permitted
A lawyer shall not, without consent of the client, be examined as to any communication made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in the course of professional representation.
The lawyer’s staff, including secretary, clerk, stenographer, etc. shall not be examined concerning any fact/knowledge that was acquired in such capacity.
Rule 6.19.5  Exceptions
There is no privilege under this rule where:
  1. The services sought or obtained were to enable someone in the furtherance of a crime or fraud, which the client knew or reasonably should have known to be a crime or fraud;
  2. The communication is relevant to an issue of breach of duty by the lawyer to the client, or by the client to his lawyer;
  3. The communication is relevant to a matter of common interest between two or more clients if the communication was made by any of them to a lawyer retained or consulted in common, when offered in an action between any of the clients.

Rule 6.20  |  Doctor–Patient

A physician, surgeon or medicine man/woman shall not, without the consent of a patient, be examined as to any communication made by the patient with reference to any physical or mental disease or disorder or supposed physical or mental disease or disorder or as to any such knowledge obtained by personal examination of the patient. The patient has the privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications, made for the purpose of diagnosis, treatment, or consultation of the patient’s physical or mental condition, among himself, the physician or any persons who are participating in the diagnosis, treatment or consultation under the direction of the physician.
Rule 6.20.1  Physician
Physician is a person authorized to provide medical services, treatment, diagnosis or consultation including a person trained in the traditional Native American healing practices in any state or nation, or reasonably believed by the patient to be so.
Rule 6.20.2  Patient
Patient is a person who consults, or is examined or interviewed by a physician.
Rule 6.20.3  Waiver of Privilege
The patient, by placing his medical condition at issue, (i.e., by filing a personal injury suit) waives this privilege.

Rule 6.21  |  Clergy–Penitent

Clergyman is a minister, priest, rabbi, traditional Native American spiritual leader or other similar functionary of a religious organization, including such which is recognized by the customs of the Tribe or an individual reasonably believed to be so by the person consulting him.
A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and prevent another from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as a spiritual advisor.
A clergyman may claim the privilege on behalf of the person, if that person has not done so nor waived the privilege. Such authority is presumed absent evidence to the contrary.

Rule 6.22  |  Husband-Wife

Rule 6.22.1  Anti-Marital Fact
In any action before the court, a husband may not be examined for or against his wife without her consent, and a wife may not be examined for or against her husband without his consent, as to events occurring in the marriage.
Rule 6.22.2  Communications
Neither husband nor wife may be examined during the marriage or after the marriage as to any communication made by one or the other during the marriage without consent of the other, i.e., the speaker. Only the speaker may waive this privilege.
Rule 6.22.3  Exceptions
Privileges are deemed waived:
  1. in any action for divorce or a civil action by one against the other; or
  2. in a criminal action or proceeding for a crime committed by one against the other; or
  3. in a criminal proceeding for abandonment, failure to support or provide for, or failure or neglect to furnish the necessities of life to spouse or minor children.

Rule 6.23  |  Waiver

A person upon whom this rule confers a privilege against disclosure of confidential matters or communications waives the privilege if the person, while the holder of the privilege, voluntarily discloses or consents to disclosure of any significant part of the matter or communication.

Subchapter D:  Witnesses


Rule 6.24  |  Competence; Personal Knowledge

Rule 6.24.1  Competence
Every person is competent to testify except as otherwise provided by these rules or by statute.
Rule 6.24.2  Personal Knowledge
A witness may not testify about a matter unless it is shown that the witness has personal knowledge about the matter. Such a showing may, but need not, consist of the witness’ own testimony. This rule is subject to Rule 44 regarding opinion testimony of experts.

Rule 6.25  |  Oath or Affirmation

Before testifying in Tribal Court, every witness shall first state before the judge, parties, and spectators that he will testify truthfully pursuant to an oath prescribed by the court.

Rule 6.26  |  Interpreters

All interpreters before the court are subject to the administration of an oath of affirmation to make a true interpretation.

Rule 6.27  |  Judge or Juror as Witness

  1. The judge presiding at trial may not testify in that trial as a witness.
  2. A member of the jury may not testify at a trial in which the juror is sitting as a trier of fact.

Rule 6.28  |  Who May Impeach

The credibility of a witness may be attacked by any party, including the party calling the witness to testify.

Rule 6.29  |  How a Witness’ Credibility May be Attacked

The witness’ credibility may be attacked or supported by evidence of opinion or reputation, provided such evidence refers to truthfulness or unfaithfulness; and evidence of truthfulness is admissible only when it has been attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
Specific instances of conduct of a witness, for the purpose of attacking or supporting his credibility, may only be inquired into on cross examination, concerning the witness’ truthfulness or untruthfulness. This rule does not operate as a waiver of the privilege against self-incrimination.

Rule 6.30  |  Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of a Crime

For the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that he has been convicted of a crime shall be admitted, if it is elicited from the witness or established by public record, during cross examination, but only if the crime:
  1. was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year pursuant to the law under which he was convicted; or
  2. it involved dishonesty or false statement, regardless of the punishment.
Evidence under this rule is not admissible if ten years have elapsed since the date of conviction or date of release from the confinement for that conviction whichever is the later; nor shall juvenile adjudications be admissible.

Rule 6.31  |  Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation

Rule 6.31.1  Control by Court
The court shall exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence as to:
  1. whether the interrogation and presentation are effective for the ascertainment of the truth; or
  2. avoid needless consumption of time; or
  3. protect the witness from harassment or undue embarrassment.
Rule 6.31.2  Scope or Cross-Examination
Cross-examination should be limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the credibility of the witness. The court may, in the exercise of discretion, permit inquiry into additional matters as if on direct examination.
Rule 6.31.3  Leading Questions
Leading questions shall not be used on the direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the witness’ testimony. Leading questions shall be permitted on cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.

Rule 6.32  |  Writing Used to Refresh Memory

If a witness uses a writing to refresh memory for the purpose of testifying, either while testifying, or before testifying, if the court in its discretion determines it is necessary in the interest of justice, an adverse party is entitled to have the writing produced at the hearing, to inspect it, to cross examine the witness thereon, and to introduce in evidence those portions which relate to the testimony of the witness.
If it is claimed that the writing contains matters not related to the subject matter of the testimony, the court shall examine the writing in camera, excise any portions not so related, and order delivery of the remainder to the party entitled thereto. Any portion withheld over objections shall be preserved and made available to the Court of Appeals in the event of an appeal.
If a writing is not produced or delivered pursuant to order under this rule, the court shall make any order justice requires, except that in criminal cases when the prosecution elects not to comply, the order shall be one striking the testimony or, if the court in its discretion determines that the interests of justice so require, declaring a mistrial.

Rule 6.33  |  Prior Inconsistent Statement of Witnesses

When examining a witness regarding a prior statement made by him, the statement need not be disclosed to the witness at that time; but upon request it shall be shown or disclosed to opposing counsel.
Evidence of a prior inconsistent statement by a witness is not admissible unless the witness is given an opportunity to explain or deny it, and the opposing party is afforded an opportunity to interrogate the witness thereon.
The rule does not apply to admission by the party opponent covered under Rule 6.38.2.

Rule 6.34  |  Calling and Interrogating of Witness by Court

Rule 6.34.1  Calling by the Court
The court may, on its own motion or at the suggestion of a party, call witnesses, and all parties are entitled to cross-examine witnesses thus called.
Rule 6.34.2  Interrogation by the Court
The court may interrogate witnesses, whether called by itself or by a party.
Rule 6.34.3  Objections
Objections to the calling of witnesses by the court or to interrogation by it may be made at the time or at the next available opportunity when the jury is not present.

Rule 6.35  |  Exclusion of Witnesses

At the request of a party or, on its own motion, the court shall order witnesses to be excluded from the court room, so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses. This rule does not apply to:
  1. Parties.
  2. Officer or employee of a party.
  3. Person whose presence is essential to the presentation of a party’s cause.

Subchapter E:  Hearsay


Rule 6.36  |  Definitions

Rule 6.36.1  Statement
Statement is:
  1. Oral or written assertion.
  2. Nonverbal conduct of a person, if it is intended by him to be an assertion.
Rule 6.36.2  Declarant
Declarant is the person who makes the statement.
Rule 6.36.3  Hearsay
Hearsay is a statement other than one made by the declarant, made out of court, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

Rule 6.37  |  Inadmissible

Hearsay is not admissible except as provided by these rules.

Rule 6.38  |  Statements Which are Not Hearsay

Rule 6.38.1  Prior Statements by Witness
Prior statement by witness is not hearsay when the declarant testifies and is subject to cross-examination, and the statement is:
  1. inconsistent with declarant’s court testimony and given under oath subject to penalty of perjury;
  2. consistent with the declarant’s testimony and is offered to rebut an expressed or implied charge against the declarant of recent fabrication or improper influence or motive; or
  3. one of identification of a person made after perceiving the person.
Rule 6.38.2  Admission by Party Opponent
When a statement is offered against the party and is:
  1. the party’s own statement, or one which the party has manifested an adoption or belief in its truth;
  2. a statement by a person authorized by the party to make a statement;
  3. a statement by the party’s agent or servant acting within the scope of agency
  4. or employment; or
  5. a statement made by a co-conspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Rule 6.39  |  Hearsay Exception: Availability of Declarant Immaterial

The following are not excluded, even though the declarant is available as a witness.
  1. Present Sense Impression:
    A statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition or immediately thereafter.
  2. Excited Utterance: 
    A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.
  3. Medical Statements:
    Statements for purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character or the cause or external source thereof insofar as reasonably pertinent to diagnosis or treatment.
  4. Recorded Recollection:
    A memorandum or record concerning a matter about which the witness once had knowledge but now has insufficient recollection to enable the witness to testify fully and accurately, shown to have been made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in the witness’ memory and to reflect that knowledge correctly. If admitted, the memorandum or record may be read into evidence but may not itself be received as an exhibit unless offered by an adverse party.
  5. Business Records:
    A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnoses, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make the memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness. The term “business” as used in this paragraph includes business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of ever kind, whether or not conducted for profit.
  6. Public Records and Reports:
    Records, reports, statements, or data compilations, in any form, of public offices or agencies, setting forth:
    a) the activities of the office or agency;
    b) matters observed pursuant to duty imposed by law as to which matters there was a duty to report, excluding, however, in criminal cases matters observed by police officers and other law enforcement personnel; or
    c) in civil actions and proceedings and against the government in criminal cases, factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law, unless the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.

Rule 6.40  |  Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable

Rule 6.40.1  Definition of Unavailability
A declarant is unavailable in situations where the declarant:
  1. is exempted by ruling of the court on the grounds of privilege from testifying;
  2. persists in refusing to testify despite an order of court to do so;
  3. testifies to a lack of memory;
  4. is unable to be present because of death or then existing physical or mental illness or infirmity; or
  5. is absent from the hearing and the proponent of the statement has been unable to procure the declarant’s attendance by process or other reasonable means.
A declarant is not unavailable as a witness if that unavailability is due to the procurement or wrongdoing of the proponent of the statement for the purpose of preventing the witness from attending or testifying.
Rule 6.40.2  Exceptions
The following are not excluded if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:
  1. Former Testimony:
    Testimony that was given under oath at the same or different proceeding, so long as the party against whom it is offered, or in a civil proceeding, a predecessor in interest, had an opportunity and similar motive to develop the testimony by direct, cross, or redirect examination.
  2. Statement Against Interest:
    A statement, at the time made, that is so far contrary to the declarant’s pecuniary or proprietary interest, or so far tended to subject the declarant to criminal or civil liability, that a reasonable person in the declarant’s position would not have made the statement, unless he believed it to be true. A statement tending to expose the declarant to criminal liability and offered to exculpate the accused is not admissible unless corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statement.
  3. Statement Under Belief of Impending Death:
    In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil action or proceedings, a statement made by a declarant while believing that the declarant’s death was imminent, concerning the cause or circumstances of what the declarant believed to be impending death.
  4. Hearsay Within Hearsay:
    Hearsay included within hearsay is not excluded under the Hearsay Rules if each part of the combined statements conforms independently with an exception to the Hearsay Rules provided herein.

Rule 6.41  |  Attacking and Supporting Credibility of Declarant

When a hearsay statement, or statement defined in Rule 6.38.2, has been admitted into evidence, the credibility of the declarant may be attacked, and if attacked may be supported, by any evidence which would have been admissible for such purposes had the declarant testified. Evidence of a statement or conduct by the declarant at any time, inconsistent with the declarant’s hearsay statement is not subject to any requirement that the declarant may have been afforded an opportunity to deny or explain. If the party against whom a hearsay statement has been admitted calls the declarant as a witness, the party is entitled to examine the declarant on the statement as if under cross-examination.

Subchapter F:  Opinion And Expert Testimony


Rule 6.42  |  Opinion Testimony by Lay Witness

If the witness is not testifying as an expert, the witness’ testimony in the form of opinion is limited to those that are:
  1. rationally based on the perception of the witness; and
  2. helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’ testimony or a determination of a fact in issue.

Rule 6.43  |  Testimony by Experts

If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education may testify in the form of opinion or otherwise.
The facts or data in the particular case upon which the expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing. If the facts or data are of such a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.

Rule 6.44  |  Bases of Opinion Testimony by Experts

The expert may testify in terms of opinion or inference and give reasons therefore without prior disclosure of the underlying facts or data, unless the court requires otherwise. However, the expert may be required to disclose such underlying facts or data on cross examination.

Rule 6.45  |  Court-Appointed Experts

Rule 6.45.1  Experts
The court may appoint any expert witnesses agreed upon by the parties, and may appoint expert witnesses of its own selection. Upon consenting to act, the witness shall be informed of the duties, either in writing by the court, copy to be filed with the clerk, or at a conference in which the parties may participate.
A witness shall advise the parties of his findings, if any; his/her deposition may be taken by any party; the witness may be called to testify by the court or any party; the witness shall be subject to cross-examination by each party, including the party calling the witness.
The court may on its own motion, or on the motion of any party enter an order to show cause why expert witnesses should not be appointed, and may request the parties to submit nominations.
Rule 6.45.2  Compensation
The court shall determine appropriate compensation.
Rule 6.45.3  Disclosure
In the exercise of its discretion, the court may authorize disclosure to the jury of the fact that the court appointed the expert witness.
Nothing in this rule limits either party from calling expert witnesses of their own selection.

Subchapter G:  Authentication and Identification


Rule 6.46  |  Requirement of Authentication or Identification

The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in questions is what its proponent claims.
Rule 6.46.1  Illustrations
The following are illustrative examples conforming to this rule, and are not limitations:
  1. Testimony by a witness with knowledge that the matter is what it is claimed to be.
  2. Distinctive characteristics in appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, taken in conjunction with circumstances which support that the matter is what it is claimed to be.
  3. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice at any other time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
  4. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time by the phone company to a particular person or business, if:
    a) To a person, circumstances include self-identification, showing the person answering the phone to be the one called, or
    b) To a business, the call was made to a place of business and the conversation related to business reasonably transacted over the phone.
  5. Public Records or Reports:
    Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be recorded or filed and in fact was recorded or filed in the public offices and is from the public office where items of this nature are kept.

Rule 6.47  |  Self-Identification

Extrinsic evidence of the authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required for the following:
  1. Public Documents:
    Documents without official seal by purporting to have authorizing signature of official or employee of any entity included in Subsection (A) above, who has the official capacity to certify under seal and such signature is genuine.
  2. Foreign Documents:
    Documents purporting to be executed or attested in an official capacity by a person authorized under the laws of a foreign country, to make such an execution and accompanied by a final certification as to the genuineness of the signature and official position of:
a) The executing or attesting person, or
b) Any foreign official whose certification of genuineness relates to the execution or attestation. Final certification may be made by a secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent of the U.S. or a diplomatic or consular official of the foreign country assigned to the U.S.
  • Certified Copies of Public Records:
    A copy of an official record or report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually is filed or recorded in a public office, certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, which complies with Subsections 1,2 or 3 of this rule.
  • Official Publications:
    Books, pamphlets or other publications purporting to be issued by a public authority.
  • Newspapers and Periodicals:
    Printed materials purporting to be a newspaper or periodical.
  • Signs, Tags, Labels:
    Inscriptions, signs, tags, labels purporting to have been affixed in the course of business and indicating ownership, control or origin.
  • Documents accompanied by a certification of acknowledgement executed in the manner provided by law by a notary public or other officer authorized by law to make acknowledgements.
  • Commercial paper, signatures thereon, and documents relating thereto to the extent provided by general commercial law.

Subchapter H:  Contents of Writings, Recordings and Photographs


Rule 6.48  |  Definitions

  1. Writings and recordings consist of letters, words, numbers or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photographing, magnetic impulse, mechanical or electronic recording or other forms of data compilation.
  2. Photographs include still photographs, x-ray films, video tapes, and motion pictures.
  3. An original of a writing or recording is the thing itself or any counterpart intended to have the same effect by a person executing or issuing it. An original photograph includes the negative or any print there from. If data is stored in a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight, shown to reflect the data accurately is an original.
  4. Duplicate is a counterpart produced by the same impression as the original, or from the same matrix, or by means of photography including enlargements and miniatures, or by mechanical or electronic re-recordings, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent technique that accurately reproduces the original.

Rule 6.49  |  Requirement of Original

To prove the content of a writing, recording or photograph, the original is required, except as otherwise provided in these rules.

Rule 6.50  |  Admissibility of Duplicates

A duplicate is admissible to the same extent as an original unless:
  1. a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original; or
  2. in the circumstances, it would be unfair to admit the duplicate instead of the original.

Rule 6.51  |  Admissibility of Other Evidence of Contents

The original is not required and other evidence of the contents of the writing, recording or photograph is admissible if:
  1. the original is lost or destroyed, unless such loss or destruction has been done by the proponent in bad faith; or
  2. the original cannot be obtained by any available judicial process or procedure; or
  3. the original is in possession of the opponent and that party has been notified by pleadings or otherwise, that the contents will be subject to proof at the hearing, and the party/opponent does not produce the original at the hearing; or
  4. the writing, recording or photograph is not closely related to a controlling issue.

Rule 6.52  |  Public Records

The contents of an official record, or of a document authorized to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed, including data compilations in any form, if otherwise admissible, may be proved by copy, certified as correct in accordance with Rule 6.48 or testified to be correct by a witness who has compared it with the original. If a copy which complies with the foregoing cannot be obtained by the exercise of reasonable diligence, then other evidence of the contents may be given.

Rule 6.53  |  Summaries

The contents of voluminous writings, recordings or photographs which cannot conveniently be examined in court may be presented in the form of a chart, summary or calculation. The originals or duplicates shall be made available for examination or copying or both by the other party at a reasonable time and place. The court may order that they be produced in court.

Rule 6.54  |  Testimony or Written Admission by Party

Contents of writings, recordings or photographs may be proved by the testimony or deposition of the party against who offered or by that party’s written admission, without accounting for the non-production of the original.

Chapter 7  |  Appellate  Procedure (Reserved)