Washoe Tribal Court

The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California has close to 3,500 acres of land located in western Nevada and eastern California. It consists of at least ten geographically distinct tracts of land. The Washoe communities include the Woodfords Indian Community located in Alpine County California. The Washoe tribe is the only tribe in California which currently exercises exclusive jurisdiction over child-welfare matters involving the tribe’s children residing on the tribe’s reservation lands.


The Washoe tribal court was established in 1978. Originally it dealt with criminal matters, some civil and juvenile cases, and traffic matters. Jurisdiction was later broadened to include probate matters.

The tribal court adjudicates all civil, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases that occur on Washoe tribal lands or fall within Washoe Tribe’s jurisdiction. The tribal court’s jurisdiction is limited based on the following criteria:

Territorial Jurisdiction extends to all tribally held lands as defined in the tribe’s Constitution, including trust and non-trust lands and all roads, water, and bridges, and to any lands that may in the future become subject to the jurisdiction of the tribe by virtue of an executive order, a declaration, or regulation of the U.S. Department of the Interior, a declaration or order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or other lawful means.

The tribal court has subject matter jurisdiction over all civil causes of action pursuant to title 2, Civil Procedure, of the Washoe Tribe Law and Order Code.

To the extent permitted by federal law, the tribal court has criminal jurisdiction over all offenses enumerated in the Washoe Tribe Law and Order Code, title 5, and any subsequent ordinance adopted by the tribe when committed within the jurisdiction of the court by an Indian or non-Indian.

To the extent permitted by federal law, the tribal court has original jurisdiction in all proceedings and matters affecting Indian and non-Indian children under the age of 18 years who are residing or are apprehended within the jurisdiction of the court.

Chief Judge:  William Kockenmeister

Washoe Tribal Court
919 U.S. Highway 395 South
Gardnerville, Nevada 89410

Phone: 775-265-7024 x 1252

Fax: 775-265-0258

Website: https://www.washoetribe.us/contents/organization/tribal-documents/tribal-court-forms

© 2018 Judicial Council of California