Judge Joseph J. Wiseman was appointed by the Tribal Council as an Appellate Judge on the Wilton Rancheria Appellate Panel in 2020. He started his judicial career serving as the first judge for the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians in Sonoma, California. Before assuming his many judicial duties, Judge Wiseman practiced complex criminal and civil litigation in federal trial and appellate courts. He also is on the faculty of Empire College School of Law in Santa Rosa, California where he has taught Federal Indian Law for over 15 years.
Judge Wiseman is a member of the California Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Tax Court and United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth and Federal Circuits, United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California and the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Judge Wiseman currently serves as the Vice-President of the National American Indian Court Judges Association and is the immediate past vice-president of the California Tribal Court Judges Association. He is a member of the California Tribal-State Court Forum and is a non-voting observer member of the California State-Federal Judicial Council.
Judge Wiseman is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Oregon School of Law.
Judge Wiseman has served as a judge for a number of tribes throughout his career. He serves as the Chief Judge for the Round Valley Indian Tribes, an Associate Judge for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and as a pro term judge for the Intertribal Court of Southern California. He also serves as an Appellate Court judge for the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition. Judge Wiseman received the National American Indian Court Judges Association’s Judicial Excellence Award in 2019.
Judge Wiseman regularly lectures and presents on the topics of tribal courts, tribal justice, and contemporary legal issues arising in Indian Country. He has presented for numerous conferences and organizations including the Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California, National American Indian Court Judges’ Association, National Tribal Judicial & Court Clerks’ Conference, and the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center.