Welcome to the San Manuel Tribal Court
The San Manuel Tribal Court was established under the San Manuel Judicial Code in 2003. After several years of development, the court opened on October 23, 2009.
The court exercises general civil jurisdiction over tribal citizens and persons who have consented to tribal jurisdiction, either expressly or implicitly by entering the San Manuel Reservation or engaging in contractual relations with the Tribe. The Tribal Court does not hear gaming-related disputes, which are handled in accordance with the Tribal-State Compact.
The San Manuel Tribal Court consists of the Trial Court and the Appellate Court. The Trial Court's Chief Judge acts as the Chief Administrator of both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court.
The Chief Judge and Appellate Judges are appointed by the General Council, in consultation with the Judiciary Committee. Pro-Tempore Judges (temporary judges) are appointed by the Business Committee, in consultation with the Judiciary Committee and the Chief Judge.
The Judiciary Committee is comprised of three members: 1) the Tribal Chairperson, who serves as the Chairperson of the Committee; 2) a tribal citizen elected by the General Council, who serves as the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee; and 3) a member of the Business Committee elected by the Business Committee.
The Judiciary Committee is responsible for those duties reasonably related to the administration and operation of the Tribal Court, including reviewing the qualifications of candidates for Tribal Court Judges, advising the Tribe’s General Council on matters relating to the Tribal Court, adopting Rules of Court and establishing the schedule of court fees.
The Trial Court is presided over by the Chief Judge. A Pro-Tempore Judge hears matters that the Chief Judge is unable to hear.
Chief Judge - Anthony Lee
Judge Lee was appointed as the Chief Judge of the San Manuel Tribal Court in February 2011.
Anthony Lee is a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. He graduated from Cornell University with a concentration in American Indian studies and later received his Juris Doctorate from Cornell Law School.
Anthony previously served as the General Counsel for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Prior to this, he worked with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation/Foxwoods Resort Casino as in-house counsel. He currently also sits as an Appellate Judge for the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals. Anthony is admitted to practice law in New York, Connecticut and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Court.
The Appellate Court of the San Manuel Tribal Court hears appeals from final judgments and other final orders of the Trial Court. The Appellate Court is comprised of a three-judge appellate panel.
Appellate Judge – Michael Taylor
Judge Taylor was appointed to the Appellate Court in September 2009.
Judge Taylor obtained his law degree from the University of California at Davis in 1969. He is a member of the bars of the Tulalip Tribes, the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribes, the Colville Confederated Tribes, California, Washington, New Mexico, Oregon and the Supreme Court of the United States. He sits as an Appellate Judge for the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota.
Judge Taylor resides in Washington State where he is employed as general counsel for the Tulalip Tribes of Washington.
Appellate Judge - Deborah DuBray
Judge DuBray was appointed to the Appellate Court in September 2009.
Deborah DuBray is Sicangu Lakota and an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe located in South Dakota. Judge DuBray obtained both her Juris Doctorate and Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Dakota in 1993. She is a member of the State Bar of South Dakota and is licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.
Judge DuBray served as a Legislative Aide in the United States Senate prior to entering private practice. She established the DuBray Law Office in 1997 to represent Native clients and tribal interests and continues to represent clients in South Dakota. Judge DuBray served as Chief Judge for other tribal courts over the past six years in North Dakota, Minnesota and Oregon.
Appellate Judge - Job Serebrov
Judge Serebrov, a legally adopted member of the Herero Tribe of Namibia, was appointed to the Appellate Court in September 2009 and was appointed as the Presiding Appellate Judge for 2013-2014.
Judge Serebrov has a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law, a Master of Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law and a Master of Science in Legal Administration from the University of Denver College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in the United States Supreme Court and in Arkansas.
Judge Serebrov has practiced law for over twenty-three years. His practice includes Federal Indian and international indigenous law. He has served as a law clerk to a U.S. Circuit Court Judge, director of a university international development office, an appointee of a state governor and a presidential appointee and as a commissioner on several administrative appellate boards. Currently, he is the personal advisor to the Paramount Chief of the Herero Tribe and an advisor to the Judicial Council and the Genocide Committee of the Herero Traditional Authority.
Alternate Appellate Judge - Anthony Little
Judge Anthony Little is a member of the Sichangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). He is a 1976 graduate of the Arizona State College of Law and is admitted to practice in New Mexico since 1979. He was a staff attorney for Indian Pueblo legal Services, Inc. and Executive Director prior to entering private practice in Albuquerque, NM in 1994. He is admitted to practice in many of the Tribes in New Mexico. He has been a judge for tribes in New Mexico. He was the Chief Magistrate for the Fort Mojave Indian Community, 2007-2009 and is currently the Chief Judge for Ak-Chin Indian Community and an Appellate Judge for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Admission to Practice
An attorney admitted to practice in the State of California or before a court of the United States is eligible to practice in the Tribal Court. Other attorneys admitted to practice in another state other than California may be admitted as an Advocate. The Tribal Court may also admit Tribal citizens as Lay Advocates. In order to be admitted to practice, applicants must complete an Application to Practice and an Oath of Admission form. Admissions to practice expire on January 31st of each year, and both attorneys and advocates are required to pay a $100 admission or renewal fee.
Parties and prospective parties to Tribal Court actions may request copies of applicable Tribal laws by submitting a Request for Tribal Ordinances form to the Clerk of the Court for processing. Such requests are decided by the Judiciary Committee on a case-by-case basis. To obtain a copy of this request form, click here or contact the Clerk of the Court.
A party or prospective party may review a copy of applicable Tribal laws at the Tribal Court prior to completing the Request for Tribal Ordinances. To do so, contact the Clerk of the Court to schedule an appointment.
Tribal members may obtain a copy of Tribal laws at the Tribal Court upon showing proof of Tribal membership to the Clerk of the Court.
Tribal Court Forms (Adobe Acrobat
Reader download maybe required)
*New forms are continuously under development. Please check back for updates.
Parties filing documents by electronic mail may send court documents to firstname.lastname@example.org in PDF format with the case number and the name of the document in the subject line. The Clerk of the Court shall deliver written confirmation to the filing party of the date and time the email program recorded receipt of the filing. All parties filing electronically are required to deliver the original documents and any applicable filing fees to the Tribal Court within five (5) business days
of the date the Acknowledgement of Electronic Filing Receipt is provided by the Clerk of the Court. Electronic Filings received after the Court’s scheduled business hours shall be deemed to have been received as of the next business day.
Schedule of Fees
Please click here for the current Schedule of Court fees.
Please click here for the current Schedule of Animal Control Fees.
San Manuel Tribal Court
San Manuel Indian Reservation
3214 Victoria Avenue
Highland, CA 92346
Phone: (909) 907-6920 Fax: (909) 425-1894
Hours of Operation
9:00am – 3:00pm
Monday through Thursday
Prohibition Against Ex Parte Communications
Generally, parties to any civil action, their attorneys or advocates, and witnesses may not communicate with the Tribal Court Judge, whether in person, by phone or in writing, about any action pending before the Tribal Court outside the presence of any opposing party or without serving the opposing party with a copy of any written communication in advance. This prohibition also extends to actions not yet pending but that will be filed in the Tribal Court. There are some exceptions to this rule but only where such “ex parte” hearings and orders are authorized by tribal law.