Choctaw Nation Judicial Center opening a historical event
Springtime has proven to be one of the busiest times of the year for us here at the Choctaw Nation. We have held numerous groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings for projects such as the Choctaw Country Market in Boswell, and the Choctaw Travel Plaza/Rustic Roast in Talihina. The Nation currently has 17 active construction projects in progress. The growth of the Nation has been nothing less than amazing to witness. We have come so far as a nation, and we continue that growth every day. It is an honor to bring our services to all of our tribal members.
We held a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 25 for the Choctaw Nation Judicial Center, located at 2250 Chukka Hina, Durant, east of the Wellness Center. This 15,389-sq.-ft. the state-of-the-art facility houses two hearing rooms and one ceremonial courtroom “Ishahli”, meaning main, superior, better, principal, and sovereign greater. Additional offices will accommodate three-justice chambers, the Judicial Executive Administration, the Court Clerk Administration and the Probation Division of the judicial branch. The new building is the first Choctaw courthouse to be built since 1883.
The history of the court system is plentiful. In the 1830s, our ancestors traveled the Trail of Tears to a new home full of uncertainty. They set up their own three-branch government, which implemented the Judicial Branch Courts, and paved the way for our Nation’s judicial system today. Our tribe is still governed by the Choctaw Nation Constitution, which was ratified by the people on June 9, 1984. The Constitution provides for an executive, legislative and judicial branch, operating as three separate powers of government, under one nation.
The judicial branch and system are structured to diligently interpret the laws and to provide justice, as well as to develop and sustain the integrity of the courts. The Court of General Jurisdiction consists of the District Court and the Court of Appeals, with the Peacemaker Court utilized as an Alternative Dispute Resolution resource. The Choctaw Constitutional Court is the highest level of Court, seating the Chief Justice of the Judicial Branch, and two Tribal Judges, with exclusive jurisdiction to hear disputes arising under any provision of the Choctaw Nation Constitution, any rule or regulation enacted by the tribal council, and any other matters on appeal from the Court of General Jurisdiction. The judicial branch also consists of an Executive Administration, Court Clerk Administration and the Probation/Community Service Division.
In 2015, our legislation enacted the Tribal Law and Order Act. Our Nation has taken advantage of this authority by not only providing justice to victims but also focusing on rehabilitation and sobriety for the offenders. Non-violent offenders often receive probation or community service and are often given the opportunity to work off court costs and fines by reporting to the Judicial Probation Division.
For more information on the Judicial Branch and Court System, please watch for the future website now being constructed at choctawnationcourt.com.