FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ Two former Spirit Lake tribal judges say
criminal defendants and civil lawsuit parties have no access to
appeals because the tribe failed to renew a contract.
The Spirit Lake tribe used to contract with the Aberdeen, S.D.-based Northern
Plains Intertribal Court of Appeals to handle appeals from the
tribal court in Fort Totten.
Former tribal judge Peter Belgarde Jr. says that when the annual
fee of $3,000 was due in the summer of 2011 to extend the contract
for another year, the tribal council failed to renew it.
Belgarde and another former tribal judge say the tribal court
has lacked access to appeals for more than a year.
The Spirit Lake Tribal Court handles minor crimes and civil