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NYS court rules against Cayuga Nation tribal court

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Opponents of Cayuga Nation leader Clint Halftown achieved a legal victory on Friday. The Fourth Judicial Department of State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division in Rochester upheld lower court decisions rejecting the enforcement of rulings from the Cayuga Nation Tribal Court, established by Halftown in 2017.


The court dismissed an appeal by Halftown’s attorneys, who sought state recognition of tribal court judgments against Cayuga members Dustin Parker and Carlin Seneca. The tribal court had fined Parker $126,000 and Seneca $39,050 and ordered them to cease their tobacco businesses.

The Appellate Court’s decision emphasized that the tribal court’s judgments did not meet the requirements for state enforcement. Cayuga Chiefs and Clan Mothers praised the ruling, stating it demonstrated the tribal court’s lack of due process and fairness. Halftown expressed disappointment but affirmed the Nation’s intention to continue pursuing its rights under Nation law.