The Honorable Abby Abinanti

Yurok Tribal Court

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Biography

The Hon. Abby Abinanti is Chief Judge of the Yurok Tribal Court in Klamath, California. She was appointed to the bench in 2007.

Abinanti earned a bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State College. She then received a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Prior to her appointment to the Yurok Tribal Court, Abinanti served as a court commissioner for the Superior Court of San Francisco County, where she was assigned to the Unified Family Court. She retired from this position in 2011 but continued to serve as a court commissioner in a part-time capacity, commuting to the city every other week to preside over cases.

Abinanti has also presided over the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Court, the Hopi Tribal Court, and the Colorado River Indian Tribal Court. She has also served as Chief Magistrate of the Court of Indian Offenses for the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

She has served as president of the Tribal Law and Policy Institute.

Abinanti incorporates Yurok approaches to conflict resolution into her courtroom. These approaches strive to involve everyone affected by an offense, relying on strategies that can simultaneously rehabilitate individuals while also providing justice. Rather than issuing fines or sentences, she has asked defendants to propose their own forms of atonement.

Abinanti was the first indigenous woman in California to be admitted to the California State Bar.

She was born in San Francisco, California and raised on the Yurok Indian Reservation.

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