Pictured: New SWO Associate Judge Sara K. Van Norman (on right) being sworn in.
Last week, I traveled to Agency Village on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation in northeastern South Dakota to be sworn in and hear my first cases as an Associate Tribal Court Judge for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. The Court hears thousands of juvenile, civil, and criminal cases each year. It was also one of the first tribal courts in the nation to implement Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction under the federal Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), under which tribes can prosecute domestic-violence offenses by non-Indians against Indian victims. As Associate Judge, I will handle about two hearing days per month. I am truly honored to have the chance to serve Dakota folks in my home state, and to become part of this exceptional court.