Navajo guidelines for Navajo courts during public health emergency

PRESS RELEASE – Navajo Nation Judicial Branch relesses guidelines for Navajo courts during public health emergency

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (3-25-20) – Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation JoAnn B. Jayne issued an administrative order to provide guidance to the courts of the Navajo Nation and the public during the public health emergency due to the coronavirus. Associate Justices Eleanor Shirley and Tina Tsinigine concurred in the order to allow the courts to continue functioning during the current emergency.

The administrative order encourages the courts to continue proceedings where possible, and to hold proceedings through telephonic or videoconference means when a continuance is not possible. Telephonic hearings allow for limited close contact between parties and court staff, which is recommended under current public health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

To protect the public, including potential jurors, all criminal jury trials are postponed through May 1, 2020; however, a jury trial that is currently scheduled may proceed at the discretion of the presiding judge.

The administrative order states that the courts are tasked with protecting the individual rights of each person as enumerated in the Navajo Bill of Rights and as recognized under Diné Bi Beenahaz’áanii and that the courts will not suspend essential services. The Navajo courts will continue to hear cases and will prioritize cases which affect these enumerated and recognized rights, including:

(1) All criminal proceedings concerning an incarcerated defendant (i.e., arraignment, bail hearings, revocation hearings, etc.)

(2) All proceedings concerning detained juveniles, abused or neglected minors (i.e., shelter care hearings);

(3) Habeas corpus actions;

(4) Involuntary commitment hearings (i.e., mental health commitments, guardianships, and other civil commitments);

(5) Extraditions and federal detainers;

(6) Order to Show Cause proceedings;

(7) Applications for orders of protection and matters of enforcement; and

(8) Applications for injunctive relief.

The courts will also hold proceedings that are essential to the public health state of emergency.

To further limit close contact, the administrative order temporarily suspends requirements for pleading, filing, in-person and other related requirements under the courts’ rules of procedure. This suspension of court rules allows for people to file documents electronically or by fax rather than in-person. As a result, the courts will accept filings by mail and may accept filings by email or fax during the current emergency. People are asked to call the court before attempting to email or fax to ensure that documents are received. Those who are unable to submit a filing by email or fax should call the court to arrange for alternate filing instructions.

An application form for Domestic Abuse Protection Order is available on the Judicial Branch website. Additional forms will be posted on the website as they become available.

Exterior doors to the courts and court-related programs under the Judicial Branch will be locked at all times and only a minimum number of staff will be at the courts and/or offices to ensure essential services are available. Some judicial employees will be permitted to work from home to allow the continued work of the Judicial Branch.

The administrative order is effective beginning March 25, 2020, at 8 a.m. until amended or withdrawn. Any changes will be announced on the Judicial Branch website at

Contact information for the courts of the Navajo Nation is as follows:

Tuba City District Court

Telephone: (928) 283-3140

Fax: (928) 283-3158

Window Rock District Court

Telephone: (928) 871-6626

Fax: (928) 871-7560

Kayenta District Court

Telephone: (928) 697-5549

Fax: (928) 697-5546

Alamo District Court

Telephone: (575) 854-2668

Fax: (575) 854-2660

To’hajiilee Court

Telephone: (505) 908-2817

Fax: (505) 908-2819

Chinle District Court

Telephone: (928) 674-2070

Fax: (928) 674-2089

Shiprock District Court

Telephone: (505) 368-1270

Fax: (505) 368-1288

Crownpoint District Court
Telephone: (505) 786-2072

Fax: (505) 786-2086


Pueblo Pintado Circuit Court

Telephone: (505) 655-3268

Dził YiJiin District Court

Telephone: (928) 725-3781

Fax: (928) 725-3786

Dilkon District Court

Telephone: (928) 657-8140

Fax: (928) 657-8146

Ramah District Court

Telephone: (505) 775-3218

Fax: (505) 775-3399


Aneth District Court

Telephone: (435) 651-3545

Fax: (435) 651-3546


Supreme Court

Telephone: (928) 871-6763

Fax: (928) 871-7016


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *