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Creating and Maintaining Successful Healing to Wellness Courts

Level: Beginner
Runtime: 175 minutes
Recorded Date: May 05, 2021
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  • Define a Healing to Wellness Court & 10 key components
  • Explain the purpose & the efficacy of the Healing to Wellness Court model
  • Assess the implementation considerations for creating a Healing to Wellness Court in your jurisdiction
  • Reference the stories of two successful Healing to Wellness Courts
  • Address challenges that may arise in administering a Healing to Wellness Court
Runtime: 2 hours, 55 minutes
Recorded: May 5, 2021


Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts are innovative implementations of the drug court model, which have been used in native communities across the United States. The drug court movement began in the 1980s and is a criminal justice reform movement meant to better serve those struggling with substance abuse through a court setting. Different native communities modified the drug court model to address severe alcoholism and related crimes in Indian Country through a restorative and non-adversarial approach.

This seminar will focus on introducing Healing to Wellness Courts, their history, their efficacy. It will provide contemporary examples of successful courts in two different communities, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes and the Penobscot Nation. There will also be a portion of the session dedicated to discussing pre-eminent issues in establishing and maintaining a Healing to Wellness Court. The session will conclude with a question and answer session with all presenters.

This program was recorded on May 5th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Hon. Stacie FourStar

Chief Judge
Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Court

The Honorable Stacie FourStar is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, of Lakota, Nakoda and Hidatsa decent. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota School of Law, with a certificate of specialization in Indian Law. She has served as a prosecutor for the Fort Peck Tribes, an Associate Judge, and currently holds the office of Chief Judge for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes since 2015.

She presides over all cases of general jurisdiction and serves as the judge for the Family Healing to Wellness Court (family drug court) which focuses on reunification of families. She strives to utilize sentencing alternatives for rehabilitation. She is progressive in working with tribal communities to bring awareness by outreach. She has been part of the movement with enhanced sentencing authority (TLOA) and special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (VAWA). She strives to build and reinforce relationships with other tribal, state and federal agencies while upholding the sovereignty of the Tribes through interpretation of the law.

The Honorable Stacie FourStar is the President of the Montana Wyoming Tribal Judges Association (MWTJA) and is a region representative on the Board of Directors for the National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA). She is appointed to the Access to Justice Commission under the Supreme Court of Montana and the Native American Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team under the Attorney General for the State of Montana. She is certified as an instructor by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) and the National Judicial College (NJC).

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Hon. Robert S. Anchondo

El Paso County Criminal Court

Judge Robert S. Anchondo is a judge of the El Paso County Criminal Court No. 2.

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Hon. Eric M. Mehnert

Chief Judge
Penobscot National Tribal Court

Honorable Eric M. Mehnert has served as the Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court since 2008. He presides over the Nation’s Criminal and Civil Courts as well as the Nation’s Wellness Court. He tells anyone who will listen that it is the best job he ever had, and ever hopes to have.

He is a member of the Maine, Massachusetts & Federal Court bars, as well as being admitted to practice before the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has extensive jury trial and appellate experience in both the State and Federal Courts.

Prior to his appointment to the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court Eric was a senior partner in Hawkes & Mehnert, LLP. In his thirty year career he focused his litigation practice on civil rights; employment discrimination, housing discrimination and defending the rights of those who have been institutionalized. Eric has also served as the Chief of Enforcement of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Commission against Discrimination overseeing a staff of 45 investigators and 15 attorneys in prosecuting discrimination actions throughout the Commonwealth. He has served on the Maine Advisory Group to the US Commission on Civil Rights; The Board of Directors of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Executive Board of the Portland Branch of the NAACP.

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Hon. J. Matthew Martin

Tribal Court Judicial Fellow
American Bar Association

The Honorable J. Matthew Martin is the first American Bar Association (ABA) Tribal Court Fellow. In 2013 Judge Martin retired from the Cherokee Court, the Tribal Court for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians after eleven years of service. He has written extensively on issues of traffic safety among the United States’ indigenous population and the jurisdiction of Tribal Courts. He is the author of “The Cherokee Supreme Court: 1823-1835" published by Carolina Academic Press in 2020.

Judge Martin has spoken nationally and internationally on issues ranging from federal Indian law to criminal law and the judicial process. For over 25 years, Judge Martin has been Board Certified as a Specialist in Federal and State Criminal Law by the North Carolina State Bar.

In the 1991 Term, at age 31, he argued Wade v. United States before the Supreme Court of the United States. He received a BA with Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from the UNC School of Law. He also holds a Ph.D. in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada-Reno. In 2014 the ABA’s National Conference of Specialized Court Judges awarded him the Franklin Flaschner Award, as the United States’ outstanding specialized court judge.

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