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Benchmarks: Journal of the New York State Unified Court System

Winter 2006

The First New York Listening Conference

On April 26 and 27 the New York Federal-State-Tribal Courts Forum will hold the first-ever Listening Conference in New York State, bringing state and federal judges together with tribal court judges and tribal justice system representatives.

The event grows out of a national effort to promote dialogue among the various justice systems, following a project begun in the 1990s by the Conference of Chief Justices to encourage conversation and cooperation among state, federal and tribal courts. In 2003, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Judge John M. Walker Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit established the New York Tribal Courts Committee - chaired by New York Supreme Court Justices Marcy Kahn and Edward Davidowitz - to "explore ways in which the state, federal and tribal court systems can work to improve our understanding of one another's justice systems and establish better ways of sharing information." This committee of state and federal judges, after two years of meetings with members of the nine recognized tribes in the state, established the New York Federal-State- Tribal Courts Forum. The purpose of the forum, which includes representatives from the state and federal courts and the various nations and tribes, is to share information about the different justice systems in order to minimize and prevent conflict. It does not address gaming, taxation, land claims or matters in litigation.

Among the nine nations and tribes in New York there are several court and justice systems. As some of the tribes transition to written law systems from oral traditions, or create new courts, the state and federal courts will be confronted with complex new issues of jurisdiction as well as issues requiring the resolution of conflicting legal provisions and decisions in the areas of family, criminal, matrimonial and business law.

The nine tribes in New York are the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the St. Regis Mohawks, the Senecas, the Shinnecocks, the Tonawanda Senecas, the Tuscaroras and the Unkechaugs.

The New York State Judicial Institute and the Center for Indigenous Law, Governance and Citizenship at Syracuse University College of Law are cosponsors of the event. The conference offers a unique opportunity to identify developing issues and work toward ways to address conflicts among these justice systems.

The conference will take place at The Marx Hotel in Syracuse. It begins on April 26 with a dinner and program on native restorative justice traditions. The dinner is made possible by a generous grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Tribal Judicial Institute. On April 27, a morning plenary session on jurisdiction will combine a historical review of seminal cases and treaties with a review of government policy and discussion of current jurisdictional concerns. A second plenary will provide an introduction to the different tribal court and justice systems. The afternoon will feature two breakout sessions: one on criminal law and jurisdiction over Native Americans in state, federal and tribal courts, and one on issues arising under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

Attendees are eligible for continuing judicial/legal education credits. Anyone interested in learning more about the conference should contact Joy Beane at the New York State Judicial Institute: jbeane@courts.state.ny.us.

Sponsored by The New York Federal-State-Tribal Courts Forum, The New York State Judicial Institute, and The Center for Indigenous Law, Governance and Citizenship

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Registration (7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)Opening Ceremony, Dinner and Program on Restorative Justice

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Registration and Breakfast
(7:30 a.m.-8:15 a.m.)
Plenary Session: Indian Country Jurisdiction 101
Plenary Session: Native Justice Systems in New York State
Lunch and Keynote Speaker

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Break-out Session: Indian Children in State Family Courts: Understanding and Applying ICWA
Break-out Session: Criminal Jurisdiction
in Indian Country: The Application of 25 U.S.C. §232
Wrap-Up Session: Problem-Solving: Hopes/Wishes for Justice Systems and Interface Between Native and Non-Native Justice Systems
Closing (4:15 p.m.)

Winter 2006 PDF Format
HTML Version:

State of the Judiciary Judicial Elections Report Summary Jury Trials Indigent Defense Services Multi-Hat Judge Matrimonial Commission Solo & Small Firm Practice Office of Self-Represented National Adoption Day Court Reporters Listening Conference Construction Update Historic Courthouses and Trials Did You Know? Judicial Institute Calendar UCS Katrina Fund Update Black History Month


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Web page updated: September 1, 2006 - www.NYCOURTS.gov