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Ramona F. Tsosie Tribal Court Management Native Air Enterprises, LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "Ramona F. Tsosie Tribal Court Management Native Air Enterprises, LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ramona F. Tsosie Tribal Court Management Native Air Enterprises, LLC

2 Establishing Internal Controls Finding effective mechanisms and tools Court Rules Internal Procedures and Controls Administrative Orders, Standing Orders or General Administrative Orders (other authoritative guidelines, including policies and administrative regulations) Court Clerk Manuals Forms

3 Why do we use these tools? Consistency People know what to expect Due Process Ensure compliance with the laws and Rules of the Tribe Helps to meet trial court performance standards and core competencies pdf

4 Court Rules What is a court rule? Black’s Law Dictionary defines them as “Regulations having the force of law and governing practice and procedure in the various courts… as well as any local rules that a court promulgates.”

5 Court Rules Court rules are adopted, typically by the highest court (often with input from the trial courts), to govern the legal system and the judges, lawyers, and others who appear before the court system. These tend to be formal rules adopted to establish uniform rules and procedures for all levels of the court system (trial and appellate courts).

6 Court Rules Court rules ensure that cases are resolved without undue delay and that those who appear in court receive due process and equal treatment under the law. Sometimes the rules can be specialized to address certain types of cases where the procedure needs to be different from the norm (such as a child welfare case, or election cases).

7 Court Rules Court rules are created by judges Usually by the highest court, but sometimes by the trial court (check your Constitution or Tribal Code). Sometimes published for public comment or input before adoption. Once adopted, should be readily available to the public so they know how to follow them

8 Sample Rules

9 Court Rules Questions: How many of you have court rules in place now? How many of you don’t? How many of you have court rules for specific types of cases?

10 What is a policy? A policy is a guiding principle used to set direction in an organization. It can be a guide for: Course of action to guide and influence decisions. Decision making under a given set of circumstances within the framework of mission (objectives), goals and management philosophies as determined by the court.

11 What is a procedure? A procedure is a particular way of accomplishing something. It is designed as a series of steps to be followed in a consistent and repetitive approach or cycle to accomplish an end result. Ex. Creating a case file A set of established written methods for conducting certain business of the court. Handy for training, process auditing, process improvement, or compliance initiatives. Procedures provide a platform for implementing the consistency needed to decrease process variation, which increases procedure control. Decreasing process variation is how we eliminate waste and increase performance.

12 What is the difference? A policy is a guiding principle used to set direction in an organization. A procedure is a series of steps to be followed as a consistent and repetitive approach to accomplish an end result. Together they are used to empower the people responsible for a process with the direction and consistency they need for successful process improvement. Internal Controls are less formal than Rules, however necessary to ensure quality control.

13 Internal Policies and Controls Internal policies and controls are designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories: Effectiveness and efficiency of court operations Reliability of financial reporting (collection, distribution, depositing) Compliance with applicable laws and regulations

14 Internal Policies and Controls Internal policies and controls consist of 5 interrelated components. These are derived from the way management runs an operation or function, and are integrated with the management process. Small or mid- size courts may implement them differently than large ones. A smaller court may be less formal and less structured, yet a small court can still have effective internal controls.

15 Internal Policies and Controls 1. Control Environment - Sets the tone of an organization, influencing the control consciousness of its people. Factors include: Integrity, ethical values and competence of the entity's people; Management's philosophy and operating style; The way management assigns authority and responsibility, and organizes and develops its people; The attention and direction provided by the court.

16 Internal Policies and Controls 2. Risk Assessment and Prevention - Is the identification and analysis of relevant risks to achievement of the objectives, forming a basis for determining how the risks should be managed and/or prevented. Security policies fall under this category.

17 Internal Policies and Controls 3. Control Activities - Are the policies and procedures that help ensure management directives are carried out. They include a range of activities as diverse as approvals, authorizations, verifications, reconciliations, reviews of operating performance, security of assets, and segregation of duties.

18 Internal Policies and Controls 4. Information and Communication - Pertinent information must be identified, captured and communicated in a form and timeframe that enables people to carry out their responsibilities. Information systems (CMS) produce reports containing operational, financial and compliance-related information that make it possible to run and control the organization. Effective communication also must occur in a broader sense, flowing down, across and up the organization.

19 Internal Policies and Control 5. Monitoring - Internal control systems need to be monitored. Create a process that assesses the quality of the system's performance over time. Monitor ongoing activities, separate evaluations or a combination of the two. Ongoing monitoring occurs in the course of operations. Internal control deficiencies should be reported to your supervisor, with serious matters reported to top management (Chief Judge).

20 Internal Policies and Controls Internal policies and controls are adopted, typically at the trial court level. They give guidance to court staff how to implement or do certain things, whether it be how to set up a courtroom, how to open and organize a case file, or how to handle money, etc. They can also be related to non-legal matters, such as which staff member is responsible for a particular task, etc.

21 Sample Internal Policy Receipting Funds Policy & Procedure 1. It is the policy of the Court that all staff receipting funds during the course of a work day shall reconcile their receipts vs. their funds at the end of said work day. 2. All cash, checks, electronic funds transfers, money orders, and credit card receipts shall be separated into individual groups, making sure that all checks and money orders are endorsed and have case numbers written on them. 3. Full Court uses a tally method to reconcile cash. You are to count the number of bills for each denomination and the total should match the amount of cash reported. 4. Totals for checks, money orders, credit cards and electronic funds transfers should be determined using a calculator. The amounts should match the amounts reported in Full Court.

22 Internal Policies and Control Questions? How many of you have written policies on how to handle money that comes in? What type of payment is accepted? How many of you have a check and balance, i.e. have more than one person check that the money balances? How many of you have written policies on how Motions are handled?

23 Authoritative Guidelines There is no consensus among courts regarding the distinction between administrative (or general) orders and standing orders.

24 Authoritative Guidelines Administrative Orders : Are used to implement court procedural rules that have general applicability, such as rules for motion practice, rules governing discovery, etc. Establish approved court forms and pleading formats. Create or modify general court administrative policies such as court manuals, dress codes, calendaring schedules, fee schedules, etc. Should be issued only by the Chief Judge or Presiding Judge whose authority permits or requires that official to have administrative oversight of the whole judiciary. Typically sent to all certified practitioners when issued, and they are posted at the court for public inspection.

25 Authoritative Guidelines Standing Orders Related to matters which affect those appearing before the court, and are directed to attorneys or parties. Are directives issued by individual judges that govern specific decorum and procedural aspects of practice in that judge's courtroom. Examples would include Standing Orders governing whether practitioners should stand or remain seated for objections, direct and cross examination of witnesses and oral arguments on motions. May cover a specific dress code for practitioners (jacket for women, jacket and tie for men).

26 Authoritative Guideline If not contrary to established statute, procedural rule, or Administrative Order, a judge's Standing Order might require written plea agreements to be submitted by a certain deadline, such as 45 days after a pre-trial hearing, with late filings to be rejected. A judge may require all persons in the courtroom to turn off cell phones completely. Are typically posted outside the issuing judge's courtroom.

27 Administrative or Standing Orders Administrative /Standing Orders can cover a wide variety of topics, and usually address a more immediate need. Frequently issued in response to a more immediate problem that arises that want to address quickly, without the longer process required to adopt a court rule. Sometimes may later get converted into court rules. Important to have a mechanism to make them available to the public so they can comply with them.

28 Examples Cell phone use in courthouse/courtroom Courtroom dress code for practitioners. Acceptance of Plea Agreements Acceptance of filings by fax, Access to proceedings Court security issues Procedure for review of court records by parties, public Access to court proceedings Foreign judgments Waiver of filing fees

29 How do we develop them? Developed by judge(s) and court administrator In writing Should be clear Step-by-step Walk through with staff, training is key Keep in binder Revisit at least annually Update if needed

30 Court Clerk Manuals A Court Clerk Manual is a collection of internal policies designed to assist the clerk in performing his or her duties correctly and consistently. Procedure manuals can also be developed for other staff positions such as for a probation officer, a collections clerk, a bailiff, etc.

31 Court Clerk Manuals As comprehensive as possible Cover your basic, most common tasks first, then branch out to other areas In writing, clear language Step-by-step Keep in binder Train your staff Monitor staff and hold them accountable to manual Revisit at least annually and update if needed

32 Court Clerks Manual – Sample Topics 1. Office Procedures Opening Mail Receiving documents for filing Receiving filing fees and issuing receipts Stamps Assigning case numbers Establishing and organizing case files Keeping track of time standards Processing Orders and Judgments

33 Court Clerks Manual – Sample Topics 2. Financial Procedures Who is authorized to receive money Where does it go when you receive it Who handles it from there and compiles records Who audits the money, need checks and balances so not just one person How do you handle cash, deposit checks, issue checks, etc.

34 Court Clerks Manual – Sample Topics 3. Records Retention Use records retention/disposition schedules which name and describe records, recommend how long those records should be kept, and indicate what the final disposition should be Where should they be stored When to archive (i.e. deep storage) How to store protected records and limit public access How and when can you provide access to the public upon request

35 Court Clerks Manual – Sample Topics 4. Jury Management How do you identify who you draw you jury pool from How do you select jurors for a jury pool How do you notify them to appear Once they appear, how do you compensate them, thank them for their service

36 Court Clerk Manuals – Sample Topics 5. Handling a Criminal Case What to do when a criminal Complaint comes in Handling arrest warrants Requests for court-appointed counsel Bail/bond determination Court hearings Sentencing/Disposition Collection of fines/costs Probation and probation violations

37 Court Clerk Manuals – Sample Topics 6. Civil Cases What to do when a civil complaint comes in Entry into computer system Accepting and processing filing fees What do when subsequent filings, motions, etc. come in Scheduling hearings, trial Entering orders, judgment Can have separate but similar procedures for family law cases, child welfare, etc., etc.

38 Forms Forms are used to make it easier for certain things to be done. They can be designed for use by the court staff or by parties appearing before the court(Internal or External). Forms usually relate to common case types or issues that come up.

39 Forms Many courts have external forms for someone to fill out to request that the filing fee be waived, or a form to file a civil complaint, or a motion. Internal forms to the court, such as a "minute form" used for example in a criminal case, where the clerk or judge can just check boxes as certain actions are taken in a hearing. Disposition forms can be used in common hearings where you have a fairly standardized hearings.

40 Forms Question: - Can someone tell me an example of a type of form that might by used by the Court staff? - Can someone tell me an example of a type of form that might be used by a party? - Some forms might be used by both, have a part filled out by a party, and an order part on the same form that the judge might sign.

41 Sample


43 What do we do with all our forms? Separate Internal and External Forms Determine the purpose and need Can they be consolidated Create index Number forms Initial and date latest revision date Keep in three ring binder Destroy old forms

44 Established Controls Effective tools Court Rules Internal Procedures and Controls Authoritative Guidelines Court Clerk Manuals Forms Consistency People know what to expect Due Process Ensure compliance with the laws of the Tribe Helps meet performance standards

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