Morongo Tribal Court
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The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized Indian tribe located adjacent to the City of Banning within Riverside County, California. The Tribe has approximately 750 enrolled members and the land base consists of close to 32,000 acres located about 20 miles west of Palm Springs.
The Morongo Tribal Court, created by the Morongo Tribal Council, began hearing cases in October of 2007.
The Court hears those types of cases delegated to it by the Council.
Presently, the Court hears matters arising under Tribal laws governing child protection, ordinance violations, tort liability and patron Claims, guardianships and disabled adult conservatorships.
The Morongo Tribal Court is led by Hon. Lawrence King. Chief Judge King has over twenty years working in Indian Country. Judge King is also a member of the California Tribal Court State Court Forum, the California Tribal Court Judges Association, and many others such as NICWA, NCJFCJ, NACM and many more. He presents and speaks at various conferences on a variety of topics.
Associate Judge Cindy Smith was appointed to the Morongo Tribal Court in 2018. Judge Smith has served a judge for Suquamish Tribal Court and the Hoh Tribe, and also sits as a judge pro-tem for several local courts.
Associate Judge Karen Riess was appointed to the Morongo Tribal Court in 2021. Judge Riess previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O’odham Nation and served tribal governments and communities for ten years in private practice.
Doris Cruz – Tribal Court Operations Manager.
Simone Knighten – Tribal Court Clerk.
The clerk can assist you with identifying proper Tribal Court forms and answering questions about court processes.
G U A R D I A N S H I P S
A Petition for Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than the parent is given custody of a child.
The Tribal Court has jurisdiction to oversee guardianship proceedings overMembers and First Descendants who reside on the Morongo Indian Reservation.
C O N S E R V A T O R S H I P S
The Morongo Tribal Court may appoint guardians for the persons and/or the estates of incapacitated persons. A person, including a close or extended family member, may petition the Tribal Court to appoint a Conservator who will provide care and protection to an incapacitated Tribal Member.
OTHER: Tort Liability Claims and Ordinance Violations.
The Tribal Court maintains an updated list of all Morongo Ordinances. To request a copy of an Ordinance, contact Tribal Court staff.