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Interview: Nevada Tribal Courts Face Tough Issues On Tight Budgets

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National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Tribal courts for Native American reservations face unique challenges with limited federal funding and high rates of chronic social issues like domestic violence, child abuse, and poverty.

Victoria Sweet is a program attorney for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, or NCJFCJ,  which is headquartered in Reno. The organization offers training and advocacy for improving the justice system, including tribal courts.

Sweet says even though many tribal judges attend law school, that may not fully prepare them for such a demanding job.

"They go in and they learn the law and they learn the codes," Sweet says, "but it's really complex to understand all of the psychological, developmental, and medical things that can come up."

Sweet recently spoke to Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss. They were also joined by Bill Kockenmeister who serves as judge for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe along with six other tribes in Northern Nevada and California.

Here's their conversation:

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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