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Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Region 1

Liaison: Judge Eric M. Mehnert

Chief Judge, Penobscot Nation Tribal Court

The Honorable Eric M. Mehnert has served as the Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court since 2008. He presides over the Nation’s Criminal and Civil Courts as well as the Nation’s Wellness Court. He tells anyone who will listen that it is the best job he ever had, and ever hopes to have.

He has also served as the Wellness Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe in Arizona. He was appointed in 2016 to establish the Tribe’s Wellness Court which is now fully active. In 2018 he helped to establish the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe’s Wellness Court which is also fully active.

He serves as a Contract Judge for the Bureau of Indian Affairs where he is a member of a team reviewing Tribal Courts to assist in meeting the due process requirements of the Tribal Law and Order Act and Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction under the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

He is a member of the Maine, Massachusetts, & Federal Court bars, as well as being admitted to practice before the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has extensive jury trial and appellate experience in both the State and Federal Courts.

Prior to his appointment to the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court, Judge Eric Mehnert was a senior partner at Hawkes & Mehnert, LLP. In his thirty-seven year career he focused his litigation practice on civil rights; employment discrimination, housing discrimination and defending the rights of those who have been institutionalized. Eric has also served as the Chief of Enforcement of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Commission against Discrimination overseeing a staff of 45 investigators and 15 attorneys in prosecuting discrimination actions throughout the Commonwealth. He has served on the Maine Advisory Group to the US Commission on Civil Rights; The Board of Directors of the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Executive Board of the Portland Branch of the NAACP.