Obsurn new District Court Judge for the Court of Central Jurisdiction

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 at 6:27 am

ONAMIA, Minn. – The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has named Richard Osburn the new District Court Judge for the Court of Central Jurisdiction, which is the Band’s judicial branch. Osburn will serve a six-year term.

The Band’s Court of Central Jurisdiction, which was established in 1983, is comprised of the District Court (the trial court) and the Court of Appeals. As head of the District Court, Osburn presides over civil and criminal cases, including traffic and natural resource violations, small claims, family cases, juvenile justice cases, and other cases.

In his new position, Osburn is overseeing the development of a set of rules for the District Court and Court of Appeals that is specific to the Mille Lacs Band’s customs – one of the judicial branch’s goals for 2009. While the Band’s courts have some written rules, they often turn to federal statutes and court rules along with considering traditional Ojibwe practices to determine precedence. The new rules will help guide the Band’s Tribal Court.

“Richard brings a great degree of legal and tribal government knowledge and experience to the Band’s Tribal Court,” said Mille Lacs Band Chief Justice Alvina Aubele. “He is a great asset to the Band to help enhance our court system.”

Osburn most recently served as a Deputy Solicitor with the Band’s Office of the Solicitor General. Prior to joining the Band in July 2007, Osburn worked for more than seven years as an attorney for the Cherokee Nation’s Justice Department, in which he was the lead prosecutor for hundreds of criminal, juvenile, and child welfare cases. He also represented the Cherokee Nation in various state and federal courts. Osburn received his juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1999. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

“I am excited to lead the Mille Lacs Band’s District Court and help with key initiatives to improve the Tribal Court’s efficiency and transparency,” said Osburn.

About the Mille Lacs Band Court of Central Jurisdiction
The Mille Lacs Band’s Court of Central Jurisdiction is comprised of the District Court and the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals consists of one judge from each of the reservation’s three districts, one of these being the Chief Justice. The Court of Appeals handles any appeals from the District Court. The District Court hears all civil and criminal cases, which are presided over by the District Judge. In 2008, the District Court heard about 1,900 cases.

All justices, including the Chief Justice, are appointed by the Band’s Chief Executive and ratified by the Band Assembly to serve six-year terms.

About the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is a self-governing, federally recognized Indian tribe located in East Central Minnesota. The Band has more than 4,000 enrolled members, for whom it provides a wide variety of programs and services.

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