KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - The Hopi Tribal Council has approved the appointments of three new judges to the Hopi Appellate Court. They are Anna M. Atencio, chief appellate judge, and Paul S. Berman and Robert Clinton. Each was appointed for a term of six months.
Council members had previously determined that the appellate court was not fully constituted because two judges had not been lawfully appointed and approved by the council, giving rise to two court vacancies. The remaining appellate judge, Frederick Lomayesva, who had been appointed to an indefinite term in 1994, was not able to carry out the functions of the court alone, the council decided.
The council then authorized appellate jurisdiction of Hopi cases to the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals (SWITCA). However, the intertribal court left too many cases unaddressed.
To ensure due process and speedy adjudication of pending appeals, the Hopi Council agreed to formally end Lomayesva's term, effective Sept. 9. The Tribal Council withdrew from participating in the intertribal court of appeals by appointing the three new judges.