​Santa Fe, New Mexico 

President Cheryl Leininger & Guest Sandra Hall
Judge Fredrick Horn & Judge Carolyn Kirkwood
Judge Malcolm Mackey & Rachel
Commissioner Eleanor Palk 
Judge Tully Seymour and Jan 
Judge Dickran Tevrizian & Geraldine
Judge Thomas Thrasher
Judge John Zitny & Susan
Diane Bowen, CAO Emeritus

MONDAY: Most of the group flew into Santa Fe or Albuquerque in the evening and everyone checked into The Inn & Spa at Loretto, a very convenient location to the center of Santa Fe.  

TUESDAY: In the morning the group visited the Pojoaque Pueblo Courts, and were met by Chief Judge Kim McGinnis, Police Chief M. Freddie Trujillo and Major Nathan A. Barton to learn about the Pueblo and Indian affairs.

Chief Judge McGinnis welcomed the group. She became the Chief Judge (and only judge) in the tribal court in 2013. She was formerly a Public Defender in Detroit and worked in the State and Tribal courts after moving to New Mexico. She explained the Pueblo Courts and Police Department have jurisdiction over all matters that happen on the Pueblo lands. They work closely with Federal and State offices to form trust relationships between police and court services. The Pueblo uses community policing, trying to do the best for community members without harming them, and try to bring unity to matters involving State police without sending people to prison. In this way, the Pueblo is very unique in policing matters, and strives to make tribal members better community members.

There are presently approximately 570 members enrolled in the Pojoaque Pueblo, but approximately 15,000 people of all nationalities live within the Pueblo boundaries consisting of approximately 13,000 acres. The Pojoaque Pueblo is one of 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, and has been on this land since time immemorial, never having been removed from this land, as happened to other tribes historically, even though President Lincoln recognized the sovereignty of each Pueblo. In the 1890s small pox decimated the Indian population in New Mexico, but by the 1930s the population came back and reclaimed their boundaries. The Pojoaque Pueblo is one of the smallest in total area.

Non-Pueblo persons could traditionally not be arrested by the Tribal Police without the assistance of the Federal U.S. Attorney’s Office or the Sheriff’s assistance, and they would prosecute the defendants. Investigations were usually done concurrently and felonies would be handled by the FBI or State Police. Pojoaque Police have 20 officers. Chief Trujillo credits Chief Judge McGinnis with writing many grants bringing in needed funds to hire more personnel, update programs and innovate the Department. The Pueblo has some “amazing” technology that they now share with other agencies, such as facial recognition and license plate reader software. They recently acquired a K-9 which is being trained. Missing women is an issue and they are very involved in solving this type of crime.

Chief Judge McGinnis described how she runs her court very informally so as not to intimidate the people, which she believes leads to a better result. The Indian Civil Rights Act [ICRA] of 1968 recognized the rights of Indian people. The Judge tries to “problem solve” and encourage the people to resolve issues, even if they are minor such as a rooster crowing and making too much noise. The fee to file a tort claim is $75. If a car is to be repossessed, the company has to receive permission to come on tribal land. When the Tribal Police issue traffic tickets, the fines are kept by the Pueblo and a DMV record is not created. If a tribe member is arrested off the Pueblo for infractions, there is a contract with Santa Fe County to transport tribal members to the Pueblo. Family Social Services are very flexible and work with the family closely.

The Judge has never held a jury trial, but should there be one, the jury would be made up of six jurors with alternates. Pojoaque Pueblo has “Wellness” programs to deal with the many DUI cases each year, Family Law matters and drug treatment centers. As in other states, drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamines are cutting a swatch across New Mexico and are also an issue in the Pueblo. There are approximately 10,000 traffic crimes a year.

The Pojoaque Pueblo Mission Statement for the Path to Wellness Court...”brings together community members, service providers, tribal court, probation and law enforcement to supervise, treat, educate, and heal individuals and families struggling with substance abuse. Individuals who are interested in participating…will complete an assessment…..and once it has been determined the individual is eligible and accepted….they will start attending PTW Court weekly. If the individual has a criminal case, they will enter a ….. plea, but conviction and any costs will be delayed until successful completion of the program, then the criminal case will be dismissed.”

There is also a New Mexico Legal Aid for Native American people in all 19 of the Pueblos, to provide legal advice and representation in legal matters, including government benefits, consumer rights and civil rights issues, among others.

Of the 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, 5 use their Governors to sit as judges. Some tribes have three or four judges. Pojoaque is very westernized but many are still very traditional.  IATJ President Cheryl Leininger thanked the Police Chief, Major and Chief Judge McGinnis for taking the time to meet with the Academy judges. Chief Judge McGinnis was bestowed Honorary Membership in the Academy.

Following the visit to the Pueblo, the group was driven into the surrounding hills on the way to Los Alamos, where they visited the Bradbury Science Museum at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Lab is still in use today for research on supercomputing, biofuels and nanomaterials, and “the central mission of the Lab is to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear stockpile.”

After lunch at the Blue Window Bistro in Los Alamos, the sightseeing continued by crossing the Rio Grande Valley to the Bandelier National Monument, a national park consisting of 33,750 acres with many hiking trails, cliff dwellings and falls. The group enjoyed a short hike to the cliff dwellings, and some climbed up to explore them, while the rest of the group explored the visitor center and enjoyed the scenery.

The Welcome dinner was at the Luminaria Restaurant in the hotel, where everyone was pleasantly surprised by a monsoon storm at the end of dinner. 

WEDNESDAY: The group was met by a local guide for a walking tour of downtown Santa Fe including the historic Plaza area and the La Fonda Hotel, followed by a visit to the State Capitol building of New Mexico, built in 1966 in the New Mexico Territorial style, part Greek revival and part Pueblo adobe architecture. The building is open to the public and contains many artworks from the Capitol Art Foundation and Art Collection. It also houses legislative, executive and judicial offices.

The group continued to Museum Hill for Lunch at the Café and everyone was given a cultural pass to visit the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, and the gardens.

Members especially enjoyed the International Folk Art Museum, which houses a collection, acquired by Alexander H. Girard, of cross-cultural folk art from around the world. Over 106,000 pieces were donated by the Girard Foundation to the State of New Mexico in 1978 and a new wing was added to the museum to display the collection.

IATJ Annual Business Meeting

Upon the return to the hotel the judges met in the garden for the annual business meeting. The last meeting of the Academy judges was in Israel in 2019. The Spain and Portugal trip originally planned for 2020 had been continued to 2021, and now has been moved to 2023 from this year due to the COVID pandemic. The meeting this year was planned in Santa Fe rather than an international trip, and President Cheryl Leininger thanked everyone for coming and hoped everyone was having a good time.

It was noted the Minutes of the 2019 meeting were not on the agenda to be approved, so they will be submitted at a later time.

The 2020, 2021 and 2022 Treasurer’s Reports were presented by Treasurer Tully Seymour. Motion by Judge Kirkwood to approve the reports as submitted, second by Judge Zitny, motion unanimously approved.

The Membership Report was prepared by Sarah Guevara and Diane Bowen. Motion by Judge Seymour to drop seven members from the membership roster for non-payment of dues for 2019, 2020, and 2022. No dues were collected in 2021 due to the pandemic. Two members will be contacted to see if they want to remain active members. Second by Judge Kirkwood, motion unanimously approved. The delinquent dues report for 2022 was discussed. Judges will contact those members they know. Dues notices were sent out two times this year, and one more contact will be made with the delinquent members.

Pending nominations were reported and discussed.

President Cheryl Leininger has agreed to continue her position and believes Commissioner Michaelson as President-elect and Judge Brickner as Chancellor plan to continue their positions. Judge Tevrizian nominated the slate for 2023, second by Judge Horn, nominations closed and the slate of officers was elected for 2023.

President Cheryl Leininger discussed the plans for the Spain Portugal trip. The dates have been moved to 2023.  Barcelona will be the pre-trip; followed by stays in Madrid, Seville, Evora, Lisbon and Porto. A flyer will be prepared and sent to the membership announcing the trip dates with registration information. All previous deposits received in 2020 for the trip will be applied to the 2023 trip (unless a reimbursement from an insurance company was received). 2020 deposits could not be refunded as they had been retained since 2020 by the hotels, who agreed to honor the deposits through the pandemic, and apply them to a “future” (now) 2023 trip.

The meeting was adjourned and members enjoyed a free night to explore Santa Fe.

THURSDAY: The day was free, and many spent the day exploring the museums in Santa Fe and shopping.

In the evening the group enjoyed a Farewell Dinner at The La Casa Sena, where everyone thanked President Leininger for continuing to act as President and lead the Academy through the pandemic.

FRIDAY: Most members left for home or continued their time in New Mexico.

Minutes written by Diane Z. Bowen, Chief Administrative Officer Emeritus

I certify that all Fellows of the Academy listed above attended all the meetings of the Academy.

Cheryl L. Leininger, President