Abby Abinanti
Abby Abinanti
Chief Judge, Yurok Tribe

Humboldt State
B.A., Journalism (1970)

  • Known as Judge Abby throughout Indian Country, Abinanti was the first Native American woman to pass the California bar and the first Native American woman in California to become a state judge. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from University of New Mexico in 1973.
  • Currently, the chief judge for the Yurok Tribe and serves as a court commissioner for the city and county of San Francisco – a position she's held for 20 years. Additionally, she served as chief counsel to many tribes and by appointment in various tribal courts, including Hopi and Hoopa.
  • Abinanti​ is one of a growing number of tribal judges nationwide incorporating traditional culture into their courtrooms, with the dual aim of rehabilitating individuals and providing justice to people often failed by the criminal justice system. Her approach is allowing tribal courts to help realign nontribal courts as they seek to move away from a criminal justice approach, which has increasingly proven to be unjust.​
  • She has taught in law schools including University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University Law School, and has delivered lectures at numerous law schools.


Notable CSU Alumni in public service

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