Bill names applicants for tribe's chief justice

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A new bill names candidates for the position of chief justice of the Navajo Nation.

The three applicants are Rodgerick T. Begay, JoAnn B. Jayne and Carol K. Perry.

Allen Sloan has guided the tribe's high court since July 2015.

Sloan has served as acting chief justice since Chief Justice Herb Yazzie retired in May 2015.

The bill states that each applicant has been interviewed by the Law and Order Committee.

Begay is deputy attorney general for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.


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He was appointed to the position by Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye in November 2016 and confirmed by the tribal council in January.

Begay earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law and is a member of the Arizona State Bar Association and the Navajo Nation Bar Association, according to information released by the tribe's Judicial Branch.

He started his legal career in 2005 as an attorney for the tribe's Department of Justice then served as a staff attorney from 2007 to 2013 for the Chinle District Court and the Window Rock District Court.

Begay returned to the Justice Department in 2013 and was an assistant attorney general for the economic and community development unit.

Jayne is a chief appellate court judge for the Crow Nation in Montana, according to information released by the branch.

She earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Montana and is a member of the Montana State Bar Association and the Navajo Nation Bar Association.

Jayne has also served as a justice court judge in Lake County and as an appellate associate justice for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes, both in Montana.

She represented District 73 in the Montana House of Representatives from 2001 to 2004 and represented District 15 from 2005 to 2008.

Perry is a judge in the Window Rock District Court in Window Rock, Ariz. The branch did not release additional information about Perry.

The bill has been posted to the tribal council's website and has been assigned to the Law and Order Committee.


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If committee members approve the bill, the names will proceed to President Begaye for his review.

The tribal president has the authority to appoint the chief justice, which is subject to confirmation by the tribal council.

Tribal law states the committee screens applicants for judges and justice positions and provides recommendations for appointments.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.