LCO Legal Department Expanding with 4th Attorney
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) posted a position for an additional attorney to be added to the LCO Legal Department to lessen the load on the current staff. The new position will increase the legal team to four members.
Dyllan Linehan, Assistant Attorney General for the tribe, explained some of the load the attorneys face including legal work for several tribal enterprises that are large enough they should have their own attorneys. The LCO Legal Department handles Indian Child Welfare, Child Support, Tribal Court issues, legal issues for the TGB and all the tribal programs, as well as the Sevenwinds Casino, LCO Financial Services and other large entities of the tribe.
“We are backlogged and in much need of an additional attorney,” Linehan said.
On a separate note, LCO TGB member Don Carley said he wants to see some money earmarked for an attorney position separate from the LCO Legal Department who would work as a public defender for tribal members in the LCO Tribal Court system. Currently, the LCO Legal Department operates as a prosecutor for the court against all individuals, including tribal members, who violate tribal law or file lawsuits against the tribe, based on law and ordinances established by the TGB. These persons have no representation of their own when they appear in the court.
Linehan said this attorney would be a stand-alone position outside of the LCO Legal Department as state bar licensing and ethics requirements would not allow for an attorney to both be adverse to the tribe and representing it, as that would be a conflict.
Linehan added there are no other tribes that provide a civil public defender as there can be no jail time or loss of liberties in civil cases. After discussion, the TGB members agreed with Carley to budget funds for a public defender position.