Court of General Jurisdiction (Tribal Court)
The judicial power of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is vested in a tribal court system composed of a court of general jurisdiction, called the Tribal Court, and an appellate court, called the Tribal Appellate Court. All the Judges of the Tribal Court and Tribal Appellate Court combined make up the Judiciary. The chief judge and associate judge preside over all civil and criminal cases in Tribal Court arising under the tribal constitution, statutes, regulations, or judicial decisions of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Tribal Court’s jurisdiction is based upon the Tribe’s inherent sovereignty, traditional custom, and federal law. Below are brief biographies of the current Chief and Associate Judges.
Chief Judge, Allie Greenleaf Maldonado
Honorable Allie Greenleaf Maldonado is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB). She was appointed the Chief Judge of the LTBB Tribal Court in 2012. In 2014, Judge Maldonado was voted Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly Woman of the Year and Co-Chair of the first Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum.
Judge Maldonado graduated in the top third of her class from the University of Michigan (UM) Law School. While at UM, she served as a Contributing Editor for the University of Michigan Law Review. She was a Kellogg Foundation Fellow, Voelker Foundation Fellow, A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholar, and Joseph Seiger Scholar. Upon graduation she won the University of Michigan Jane L. Mixer Award for public service.
After graduation, Judge Maldonado was selected through the highly competitive Honors Program at the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to become a litigator in the Indian Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Upon her swearing in at the DOJ, she was informed that she was only the 15th enrolled tribal citizen to enter the DOJ through its prestigious Honors Program since its inception in the 1950s.
In September of 2002, Judge Maldonado returned home and accepted the position of Assistant General Counsel for LTBB in which she served the Tribe up until her appointment as Chief Judge. As an attorney for the LTBB, she successfully litigated the first case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the termination of parental rights due to a failure by the State to follow the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). In re Cole , unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued November 17, 2005 (Docket No. 262918). Judge Maldonado also wrote an amicus brief advocating for “conditional reversal” in ICWA cases, which is the position the Michigan Supreme Court adopted in In re Morris , 491 Mich 81, 83; 815 N.W.2d 62 (Docket Nos. 142759 & 143673, decided May 4, 2012). She also wrote the first draft of the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA) and provides training on the MIFPA.
Judge Maldonado is a past Board member of the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section, serving as Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Section. During her 11 years volunteering for the Indian Law Section, Judge Maldonado helped organize the Federal Bar Association Indian Law Conference.
During her time as Chief Judge, Judge Maldonado has overseen implementation of federal grants for tribal substance abuse courts and specialized domestic violence courts. She has facilitated the use of data-driven assessments to improve the quality and efficacy of services provided by the LTBB Tribal Court.
Judge Maldonado is a nationally-recognized expert on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act (MIFPA). She has worked extensively with the State Court Administrative Office to bring Michigan into compliance with ICWA, and is a frequent trainer and speaker in the areas of ICWA and MIFPA.
Judge Maldonado and her husband, Jay, are the proud parents of two wonderful children.
Associate Judge, John J. Lemire
Judge Lemire is an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band, Minnesota Chippewa. His father was a dislocated "boarding school" Indian ending up in Michigan.
He is a retired Family Court Referee, having served the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne County for more than 25 years. He has been a Court appointed Mediator/ Arbitrator since his retirement. Judge Lemire has been involved in Indian law and welfare for decades. He has served as a Board member and Vice Chair of Michigan Indian Legal Services for over thirty years until his appointment to the Tribal Court. He is currently Chairperson of the Board of American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan. AIHFS is a medical and behavioral health clinic in Detroit funded by the Indian Health Service and other grants that assists urban Indians. He has participated in programs to assist Native American Law students and served other Michigan tribes in various legal capacities. He is past Chair of the American Indian Law Section of the State Bar.
In his legal career, Judge Lemire has served as a Referee for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, as a chair panelist of the Attorney Discipline Board, and as an Assemblyperson for the State Bar of Michigan.
On a personal level, Judge Lemire is an Army Veteran of Vietnam and has been happily married for many years to his wife Marlene with two grown children. Even with all of the above accomplishments, he considers his appointment to the Tribal Court the highlight of his career.
Tribal Appellate Court
The Tribal Appellate Court consists of a chief justice and two associate justices that hear appeals from Tribal Court. All Tribal Appellate Court decisions are final and cannot be appealed. Below are brief biographies of the Appellate Justices.
Chief Justice Wenona Singel
Justice Wenona T. Singel is a former member of the tribe’s Economic Development Commission. Justice Singel is an enrolled citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Singel is also an Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University College of Law as well as the Associate Director of its Indigenous Law and Policy Center. She is Of Counsel to the law firm of Kanji & Katzen, PLLC, a firm with offices in Ann Arbor and Seattle that specializes in representing tribes in Indian law matters. Justice Singel graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with high honors and Harvard Law School in 1999. She has worked at Dickinson Wright PLLC, Kanji & Katzen PLLC and was an Assistant Professor at University of North Dakota School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Michigan and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Justice William Denemy
Justice Denemy was appointed Justice to the Appellate Court on September 12, 2014. Justice Denemy grew up in the Charlevoix and Petoskey area. He left the area to serve a thirty three year career with the Michigan State Police. After retiring from this position he moved back to the Petoskey area and was employed by the Little Traverse Bay Bands in the following positions: the Gaming Administration, the Gaming Board of Directors, four years as the Tribal Vice-Chairperson, and then he was employed by the Tribal Drug Court for a period of time prior to being appointed as a Justice in the Appellate Court.
Justice Sean E. Cahill
Justice Sean E. Cahill is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Justice Cahill is Assistant General Counsel for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and previously represented the Tribal Council of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Sociology and in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science. In 2011, he received his J.D. from the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, where he participated as a member of the Indian Legal Program, represented tribal clients in the Indian Law Clinic, and served two years on the executive board of the Native American Law Students Association. While in law school, Justice Cahill worked for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the law firm Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan, and the Maricopa Superior County Court. He is admitted to practice in Michigan and in a number of tribal courts.
LTBB’s Constitution requires that the Judiciary shall employ an Administrator of the Courts and other assistants as may be necessary to aid in the administration of the courts. Below are brief introductions to the Court Administrator and court staff.
Adult Probation Officer/WMDCP Coordinator, Mike Rogers
Michael Rogers, the former Community Organizer for LTBB SPRING Grant program, has more than 23 years of Law Enforcement experience. Considered an expert in photographic evidence, Mike instructed evidence technicians throughout the State of Michigan, especially in child abuse documentation. He served as a certified regional police academy instructor and also instructed for the State of Michigan Law Enforcement Re-certification program. He successfully assisted Tribal Police officers throughout the State in their cross-training certification.
Mike has held positions as; Cheboygan Undersheriff, Marina owner and President of JRM Inc., Certified Master Sales Consultant, and twice receiving the Ford Motor Company e2 employee excellence award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spring Arbor University in Management & Organizational Development and several specialized certifications.
Mike and his wife, Marlene, are long-term residents of Cheboygan and blessed with three grown children, a daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and one grandchild.
Cultural Resource Advisor, Anthony Davis
Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio by my Parents, Louis and Mary (Chingwa) Davis. I have five siblings, two older sisters, one older brother, and two younger brothers. I am married to a wonderful woman, Cathy. We have six children together. I have three children, two sons and a daughter and I am a proud grandfather to nine grandchildren. I am a veteran of the United States Navy, 1977. I received my GED in 1978. I changed my lifestyle in October of 1988 and in that process began intense learning of the Anishinaabe Way of Life. I was employed with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Substance Abuse Program 2002 – 2010. During that tenure I trained for, achieved and maintain my CADC – 1(Certified Addiction Disorder Counselor level 1) certification for counseling through UMICAD(Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders) in 2003. Currently I am employed with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Waabishki-Miigwan Drug Court Program as the Cultural Resources Advisor. The Anishinaabe Heritage has been my goal each day that I awake to Creation. It is with this in mind that I serve the community so that others may enjoy life with their Creator.
Sr. Court Clerk, Cynthia Brouckaert
Cynthia Brouckaert is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians who grew up in Cross Village and graduated from Harbor Springs High School. She and her husband returned to the area after approximately 25 years in the Detroit area. Cynthia received Advanced Tribal Court Clerk Certification through the Tribal Judicial Institute, has an Associate’s Degree from NCMC, and three Associate’s from the Macomb Community College in Warren, MI. She has two grown children, a son in-law, and two grandchildren. She is happy to be in Northern Michigan and enjoys serving the tribal community as the Senior Court Clerk.
Clerk I, Chloie Stead
Chloie is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. She currently resides in Petoskey, and has two daughters named Rocarla and Roanna. Chloie attended and graduated from Ashworth University with an Associates of Science in Human Resource Administration. She currently attends Central Michigan University’s Global Campus, studying to receive a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. Chloie looks forward to serving the community.
Administrative Assistant, Joetta Gasco
Joetta M. Gasco was born in Petoskey Michigan, and having traveled extensively and lived throughout the US with her Parent’s Truck Driving lifestyle in her childhood years, her husband’s Truck Driving adventures, as well as her own want-to-travel attitude, she has recently left Murfreesboro, Tennessee, (South-Nashville area) after 7+ years, to relocate back to Northern Michigan with her Husband of 35 years, LTBB Member, Bart Gasco, Sr. Jody graduated from Boyne City High School, and In the early 90’s, earned 2 Associate’s Degrees from NCMC.
Although Jody was a very frequent traveler/visitor to the area, and it seemed her ties to family couldn’t get much closer, Jody still desired to live closer to her family. 2 of her 3 grown children, 3 grandchildren, her parents, her extended family, his family, as well as many, many friends, all live in the area.
Jody recently left her job with The State of Tennessee- Department of Corrections just short of 7 years, as Senior Procurement Officer at the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility, the Hospital Prison for the State of Tennessee. Even with her love of outdoor activities, extensive work on her neatly manicured flower gardens and lawns, as well as many other activities she took part in while in Tennessee, the pull of Northern Michigan and family still made Jody long to be ‘home’. Even as the winter of 2013-14 has proven to be a weather challenge, she is extremely happy to be back in God’s North Country. She is looking forward to working for the Tribe she has been “part of” for over 35 years.
Domestic Violence Court Docket Project Coordinator, Alyssa Harrold
Alyssa Harrold grew up in Petoskey Michigan. After finishing High School she went on to attend Central Michigan University. Alyssa graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology of Criminal Justice and a degree in Gender Studies. Upon completion of her schooling she moved back to Petoskey where she did an internship with LTBB Survivor Outreach Services. She lives with her fiancée and their children Myles, Lena, and Julian.