Tribal Court Elders Panel
Recognized by the Washington State Bar Association for the Local Hero's Award of 2009
Seven members of the Tulalip Tribal Court's Elders Panel were honored by the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) for the Local Hero's Award on Fri., July 24th in a ceremony at the Tulalip Resort Hotel.
Elders of the Tribe volunteer their time to sit on the Elders Panel. Panel members are: Cookie Robinson, Dale Jones, Hank Williams, Eleanor Nielsen, Lee Topash, Don Hatch and William Shelton.
The WSBA Board of Governors searches statewide for noteworthy programs that have made substantial contributions to their communities, such as the Tulalip Tribal Court Elders Panel. Most often, these awards go to lawyers, but in special circumstances, this recognition is bestowed upon non-lawyers.
The Panel meets at the Court every 2 weeks to meet with young (18-25 years old), first-time, non-violent offenders who have been charged with minor criminal offenses. Participation in the Elders Panel is voluntary by the offender. If the offender successfully completes the one-year requirements imposed by the Elder's Panel, the offender's charges will be dismissed in Court.
The Elders Panel may require regular appearances before the Panel; writing letters of apology; community service; substance abuse treatment; impose curfews; UA's; research of family history, spiritual activity (not necessarily religious); anger management classes; mental health evaluations; and no new law violations.
Tribal Court Judge Bass has referred more than 40 young people to the Panel in the last three years of which fewer than ten percent have returned to the court system. Congratulations to the important work of the Tulalip Tribal Court Elder's Panel for their civic contributions to this community, and our young adults.
Current members of the Tulalip Elders Panel 2014:
- Donald C. Hatch Jr.
- Lee Topash
- Eleanor M. Nielsen
- John Bagley
- Hank Williams
- Maureen Alexander
Virginia Carpenter retired from the Panel in Feb. of 2010.
William G. Shelton passed away January 2013; he will be dearly missed.