By JOSEPH MARTIN
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee Chief Justice Kirk Saunooke appointed Heather Sneed, the assistant clerk of court, to serve as interim clerk for the Cherokee Tribal Court after the resignation of June Ray. Saunooke wouldn’t comment on the appointment.
In Saunooke’s Sept. 7 order, he said the appointment was necessary, and according to the tribal code, as chief justice, he has the authority to administer the operations of the court.
In his order, Saunooke said, “(Sneed) shall assume all rights and duties associated with this office, which includes sitting as ex-officio judge of probate.” That gives Sneed the authority to determine the validity of wills, and it gives her jurisdiction in administration over decedents’ estates and trust and estate proceedings.
Ray was sworn in as clerk in November 2017. Prior to her tribal service, she was elected clerk of superior court for Haywood County, elected unopposed her entire tenure starting after being appointed to serve the remaining term of Gill Henry in 2002.
Sneed could not be reached for comment by press time.