Seeking justice through Tribal values.
The goal of the Tribal Court is to provide a user-friendly, culturally appropriate forum for tribal citizens to address their justice needs.
Exercising our sovereignty to strengthen and continue our cultural balance.
Tribal Court Judges
Chief Justice – Debra O’Gara
The duties of the Chief Justice for the Tribal Court are to oversee the administration of the Court system, to preside over Appellate cases, to work with the Associate Judges and the Judiciary Committee in strengthening and expanding the Tribal Justice System and to work collaboratively with the Tribal administration and Executive Committee.
Justice O’Gara grew up in the Seattle area and spent summers in Mountain Village, a Yupik village where her mother was born and raised. Justice O’Gara’s Tlingit name is Djik Sook and she is a Raven of the Teey Hít Taan clan and is the niece of William Paul and great granddaughter of Tillie Paul Tamaree of Wrangell. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1987 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon in 1990. Justice O’Gara has 22 years experience practicing law as a prosecutor, staff attorney and a mediator.
Her areas of expertise are Indian child welfare, child support, domestic violence, criminal law, Tribal sovereignty, fishing & hunting rights and jurisdictional issues. She worked on Indian child welfare cases for over 15 years, conducting ICWA trainings for guardians, caseworkers, law students and lawyers. In the Child Support arena, Justice O’Gara actively participated in the Federal, State and Tribal Taskforce that began in 1996 aimed at providing information to all tribes about the Welfare Reform Act, TANF and Child Support and presided over the Child Support Court as the Magistrate for the CCTHITA Tribal Court. And, she has worked on domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault issues in Indian Country for over 20 years, including three years in New York City as Director providing legal assistance to victims and survivors of domestic violence. She has written DV statutes, policies and procedures, protocols and has provided inter-disciplinary trainings on these.
Debra is honored to be putting her education and experience to work for her own tribe and is committed to expanding and strengthening the Tribal Court System for the betterment of our Tribal families and children.
Tribal Judge – Aurora Lehr
Information Coming Soon...
Pro Tem Tribal Judge – Lowell Halverson
Eagle, Killer Whale Name : Heen la' sah. My grandmother, Annie Johnson, was born in the Snail House in Hoonah. My father, Sidney, Halverson, was born in Craig. I am a lawyer, licensed to practice law in Alaska , Washington State, New York and the CCTHITA Tribal Court. I graduated from Harvard College (1964) and the UW School of Law (1968). I have authored several books, served as editor-in-chief of the Washington Lawyer Practice Manuals and as editor in chief of the Washington Lawyer Family Law Deskbook. I was founder of the Legal Foundation of Washington and served as its first President. In 1990 I was elected President of the Washington State Bar Association. For 5 years thereafter I served on the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. I have been a member of the Seattle Community Council since 1965 and a delegate since 1970. I chaired the tribe's Judiciary Committee for fifteen years, helped establish our tribal Court, am serving as a judge pro tem . Currently I serve as 6th vice-president of the tribe's Executive Council.
Magistrate/Judge David Voluck
David Avraham Voluck graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in the Sociology of Religion. Moving to the Pacific Northwest, he attended the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College where he received his Juris Doctorate with a Certificate in Environmental Law and was inducted into the Cornelius Honor Society. Upon graduation of law school, he moved to Sitka, Alaska to serve as the land and trust resources attorney for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and was eventually promoted to the Director of the Tribe’s Law and Trust Resources Department. In 1998, David moved to Anchorage to join the firm of Landye, Bennette, and Blumstein, LLP to work under the mentorship of David S. Case specializing in federal Indian law, traveling to rural villages both as municipal and tribal attorney. During the next three years, David was privileged to travel the expanse of Alaska, providing representation to the Tlingit, Haida, Athabascan, Inupiat, Yupik, and Aleutiiq peoples. During this time, David was also privileged to work with David Case co-authoring the revision of the legal treatise, “Alaska Natives and American Laws”. His experience with the Native peoples awakened a renewed interest in his own culture and history, and David took a two year sabbatical from the practice of law to attend the Rabbinical College of America, focusing on Talmudic and Jewish Legal Studies. David eventually returned to Alaska to continue his Indian law practice and to serve as Executive Director of Youth Advocates of Sitka, Inc., a community mental health clinic serving seriously emotionally disturbed youth and their families. In April of 2008, David was appointed Chief Judge of the Sitka Tribal Court, and was hired as Adjunct Professor of Indian Law for Lewis & Clark Law School’s Summer Indian Law Program. In November of 2010, David was appointed to sit as Magistrate/Judge for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska per the Tribe’s Family Responsibility Act. May of 2012, David was appointed as Judge Pro Tem for the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government. David is a noted lecturer on a variety of topics related to Indian law, Tribal Courts, Native culture, and the interplay with religion.
* Due to accepted Canons of Judicial Conduct and ethical rules surrounding the practice of law, Tribal Court staff are not authorized to provide personal legal advice. Legal problems may be eligible to be heard by the Tribal Court; contact the Tribal Court Clerk for assistance with forms and filing.