Criminal Defense & Juvenile Delinquency in the Tribal Courts

MILS is a statewide non-profit that provides free legal services to American Indian families, tribes and organizations and has served thousands of clients since its incorporation in 1975. MILS’s service area includes 12 separate tribal court systems, some of which do not provide court appointed attorneys to criminal defendants. The tribes are located through the state with the closest being about 45 minutes from the MILS main office and the farthest being about 7 hours. Since 2008, MILS has provided criminal defense representation in tribal courts and now provides this service in five tribal courts (Grand Traverse Band, Little Traverse Bay Bands, Pokagon, Nottawaseppi, and Little River Band) using DOJ BJA, LSC, and tribal contract funds. MILS represents criminal defendants facing loss of liberty in tribal courts. By assisting unrepresented defendants in criminal cases, MILS has helped develop tribal justice systems and tribal court judges believe that they can better serve justice when MILS represents defendants who would otherwise be unrepresented.