Council appoints 2 new judges

Tribal Council this week appointed two new judges to the Tribal Court of the Confederated Tribes.

The new Chief Judge is Lorintha Umtuch, and the new Associate Judge is Maria Godines. They join Judge Lisa Lomas on the court.

Ms. Umtuch is a Yakama Nation tribal member, with family and friends among Warm Springs members. Ms. Godines is a Warm Springs member.

Ms. Umtuch has worked in the court systems of other tribes in the Northwest and Southwest.

She has several years of judicial experience and education, and she is a traditional woman, said Walter Langnese, former chief judge, who served on the judicial recommending committee.

Ms. Umtuch has experience in criminal and civil tribal law, probate and juvenile law, said Langnese.

Ms. Godines has worked in tribal court administration, most recently as tribal court administrator.

She is a member of the Tribal Bar, and has an excellent knowledge of the tribal code, Langnese said. Her other strengths are in probate, the tribal organization and customs.

On the judicial committee were Langnese, former judge Lola Sohappy, and tribal elder Arlene Boileau, who has worked at Extension and in other positions with the tribes, especially with youth.

The committee reviewed the applications, and interviewed all tribal members who applied. They gave recommendations of the top three candidates for the chief and the associate judgeships, with a top recommendation for both positions.

After the presentation, Council voted by secret ballot, agreeing with the recommendations.

Two of the three judgeships, including the Chief Judge, became vacant this fall. First, Glendon Smith resigned to become the Secretary-Treasurer. Then earlier this month, former chief judge Langnese retired.

The newly-appointed positions are for terms of four years, following a one-year probation period.