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Editorial: Open doors to Mohegan Tribe's court
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Filed Under: Opinion

"It was troubling to learn that David Collins, a columnist for this newspaper, ran into resistance when he tried to obtain documents from the Mohegan Tribal Court. Mr. Collins wanted information on tribal litigation involving a member who allegedly posted personal and proprietary information on his Internet blog. It is understandable why the tribe would not want to air such dirty laundry, but the true test of a transparent system is allowing access to information even when that information causes some discomfort.

We found some reassurance in the comments of Paul M. Guernsey, chief judge of the Mohegan tribal courts, who guaranteed us the court system is open and tribal councilors or council elders exert no pressure on the judges of the Mohegan Gaming Disputes and Mohegan Tribal courts.

Yet in his column last Sunday Mr. Collins detailed his difficult experience with the Mohegan Tribal Court, outlining efforts by tribal brass to block his access to information in the case and to the actual courtroom.

Judge Guernsey, who has worked in the tribal courts since their inception in 1996, emphatically said Wednesday the courts are open to the public except in a few rare cases, such as sometimes when minor children are involved or surveillance film is played. And Judge Guernsey said tribal leaders hold no sway over rulings made by the court."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Assure open Mohegan courts (The New London Day 1/29)

Another Story:
Tribal court to hear case involving accident at casino (The New London Day 1/29)

Related Stories:
Column: Mohegan Tribe clamps down on the press (1/26)



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