Federal Court Enjoins Tribal Court From Attempting to Exercise Jurisdiction Over County Sheriff

Like most California tribes, a tribal council governs the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. But in December 2011, and again in February 2013, the Tribe’s governing council became embroiled in an internal power struggle with the tribal council ultimately splitting into three competing factions. Each of the factions claimed to be the Tribe’s sole and lawful governing body. Two of the tribal factions formed tribal courts, with each court issuing competing rulings recognizing themselves as the Tribe’s lawfully constituted tribal court and the council that appointed them as the Tribe’s lawful governing council.