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Navajo Supreme Court dismisses Chris Deschene appeal; Deschene disqualification “final and enforceable.”
October 22, 2014 News Articles

The Navajo Nation Supreme Court DISMISSED disqualified presidential candidate Chris Deschene’s appeal of an Oct. 9, 2014, decision by the Navajo Nation Office of Hearings and Appeals that he was disqualified to be a presidential candidate.

The dismissal by the Supreme Court was made yesterday, Oct. 21, 2014.

According to a copy of the Supreme Court’s Oct. 21, 2014, dismissal, Deschene failed to comply with Supreme Court filing rules that mandate that the individual filing an appeal is mandated to attached a “copy of the certified judgement” to his or her appeal.

The Supreme Court stated that Deschene filed his appeal at 4:32 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2014, and the Supreme Court clerk telephoned Deschene’s counsel, Brian Lewis, and left Lewis a message that the certified copy of the final judgement was not attached.

“On Oct. 21, 2014, at 11:45 a.m., Deschene filed the certified copy of the final judgment,” the justice stated. “Rule 7(A) of the Navajo Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure (NRCAP) requires that ‘a certified copy of the final judgement, order, or administrative decision being appealed, signed by the judge or hearing officer and dated, must be attached to the Notice of Appeal,’ and the filing fee paid at the time of the filing…It has been long established that the requirements of the Rules of 7(a) and 7(b) are jurisdictional. Joe v Atkins, 6 Nav. R. 8 (Nav. Sup. Ct. 1988)”

The ten-day appeal deadline for Deschene was Oct. 20, 2014, at 5 p.m.

The Supreme Court emphasized, “Any litigant who is serious about his case will ensure that all of the court’s jurisdictional requirements are satisfied. Henderson v Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, 7 Nav. R. 360, (Nav.Sup.Ct.1998) If an appellant does not file one or more of the items required by Rule 7(a), this Court does not have jurisdiction over the appeal at the ouset. Id. at 361. In this case, Deschene failed to comply with the jurisdictional requirements at the time he filed his appeal by not including a certified copy of the final judgment with his Notice of Appeal.”

According to the the justices, Deschene inferred in his Oct. 20, 2014, Notice of Appeal that certified copy of OHA’s final judgement was previously provided to the Supreme Court by OHA but the copy provided by OHA to the Supreme Court was to show that it carried out its duties as remanded in a previous consolidated appeal.

“It was not submitted for the purpose of meeting appellant’s filing requirements,” the Supreme Court stated. “Furthermore, the filing of the certified copy of the final judgement on the day after the filing of his Notice of Appeal does not cure the defect that the items be filed contemporaneously.

“The court herenby DISMISSES the appeal for lack of jurisdiction,” the justices ruled. “The Final Order Disqualifying Respondent (Deschene) entered on October 9, 2014, is final and enforceable. This being an election matter of priority, there will be no filing of a petition for reconsideration under the facts of this case that deprives this Court of the power and authority over this appeal.”

Also on Oct. 21, 2014, the petitioners Dale Tsosie and Hank Whitethorne filed a motion to dismiss Deschene’s appeal because Deschene filed to attached the mandated certified copy of the OHA Oct. 9, 2014, final judgment.

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