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Navajo Nation Council confirms three judicial nominees

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation Council confirmed three nominees to serve as judges in the tribe's district court system.

In a special session on Dec. 19, the council approved Neomi Gilmore, Letitia Stover and Malcolm Laughing to each serve for a probationary period of two years.

Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne administered the oath of office to each following the council's vote at the council chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

According to the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, Gilmore is originally from Twin Lakes.

She earned a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Idaho College of Law and served as attorney candidate in the Navajo Nation Department of Justice's Chapters Unit.

At the special session, Gilmore demonstrated her skills in speaking the Navajo language and expressed her interest in advancing Diné Fundamental Law in the district court, according to a press release from the Office of the Speaker.

Details released by the Judicial Branch on Dec. 20 state that Stover is originally from Navajo Mountain, an area straddling the Arizona-Utah border.

Letitia Stover takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne on Dec. 19 at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of South Dakota School of Law and an LL.M. from the University of Arizona.

Prior to working in the legal profession, Stover was a teacher.

For the last five years, she has been the staff attorney for the Kayenta Judicial District in Kayenta, Arizona.

Laughing, who is from Crystal, earned two associate degrees in pre-business administration and in tribal court advocate.

He has more than 17 years of legal experience, including employment with the Navajo Housing Authority, Navajo Nation Credit Services and the tribe's public defender's office as well as private practice.

Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne, right, administers the oath of office to Neomi Gilmore on Dec. 19 at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.

Gilmore, Stover and Laughing were appointed to the bench in November by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

In accordance with tribal law, they will serve a two-year probationary period then undergo evaluation by the tribal council's Law and Order Committee, which could recommend permanent appointment to the tribal president followed by confirmation by the council.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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Malcolm Laughing is sworn in as a district court judge for the Navajo Nation on Dec. 19. Chief Justice JoAnn Jayne administered the oath of office at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.