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Tribal-style justice

As chief judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, Abby Abinanti wears no robe, preferring a more casual official wardrobe. In contrast to her longtime role as a San Francisco Superior Court commissioner, she doesn’t perch above those who come before her; she shares a table with them. "Hi, big guy. How are you doing?" she softly prods one young man, whose troubled history she's well familiar with. “Here we have a village society,” Abinanti says of California’s largest tribe, “and the people who help you to resolve your problems are the people you know.” Native American jurisprudence has evolved since tribes began to regain their sovereignty, returning to traditional values of respect, community support and responsibility. Abinanti has been at the forefront.
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