Judge Nicholas J. Mazanec was appointed by the Tribal Council as an Appellate Judge on the Wilton Rancheria Appellate Panel in 2020. Judge Mazanec brings seventeen years’ experience in the field of Indian Law, most of which has been serving tribes throughout California. He has spent his legal career advising and representing tribes and individuals on issues of sovereignty, tribal justice systems, Indian child welfare, domestic violence, and environmental and cultural resource protection.
Judge Mazanec is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts, and has practiced in numerous tribal courts. Judge Mazanec has served on the Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC) Board of Directors since 2014 and the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition since 2021. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the California Appellate Defense Counsel, a statewide association of appellate practitioners.
Judge Mazanec earned a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston in 2004. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Linguistics and Anthropology in 2000. He is a certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US) and is one of approximately 300 appellate specialists certified by the State Bar of California.
Judge Mazanec serves as the Chief Judge for the Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Court. He also serves as an Appellate Justice for the member tribes of the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, the Intertribal Court of Southern California, and Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake.
Through his work at his own law firm, Judge Mazanec represents individuals and tribes in state, federal, and tribal court systems. Additionally, he is the director of the Shingle Springs Tribal Court Self Help Center.
Judge Mazanec was previously the Directing Attorney of the Sacramento Office of California Indian Legal Services. Additionally, he worked as an attorney with the Tribal Justice Project at UC Davis School of Law in supervising law students and working with tribes to develop their court systems.