About the Probate Hearings Division

Use the following link to view notices of probate hearings that are currently scheduled:

The Probate Hearings Division (PHD) serves as the Department's administrative trial court for Indian probate cases.  PHD’s Indian probate judges and administrative law judges conduct formal hearings in most cases, and issue decisions or orders that direct the distribution of trust or restricted property in decedents’ estates.  Some PHD orders may be appealed to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.
PHD’s judges, attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants are located throughout the five field offices listed below.  PHD is currently headed by a Chief Administrative Law Judge, who is in the Sacramento office.

Key Personnel

  • John R. Payne, Chief Administrative Law Judge, PHD
    • Supervisory Administrative Law Judge, Sacramento Field Office
    • Acting Supervisory Administrative Law Judge, Albuquerque Field Office
  • Mary P. Thorstenson
    • Supervisory Indian Probate Judge, Rapid City Field Office
    • Acting Supervisory Indian Probate Judge, Billings and Twin Cities Field Offices
  • Courtney Allensworth Esposito, Indian Probate Judge
  • David Armstrong, Indian Probate Judge
  • Leah Harjo-Ware, Indian Probate Judge
  • Albert C. Jones, Indian Probate Judge
  • Paul M. Kienzle III, Indian Probate Judge
  • Thomas K. Pfister, Indian Probate Judge
  • Roderick Ventura, Indian Probate Judge
  • Daniel Vis, Indian Probate Judge
  • Janet A. Yazzie, Indian Probate Judge
  • Christine Kelly, Supervisory Paralegal Specialist
  • Christine Athey, Lead Paralegal Specialist

Probate Hearings Division Offices

Sacramento, California
Probate Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
801 I Street, Room 130
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-498-6600 (voice)
916-498-6409 (facsimile)

Bloomington, Minnesota
Probate Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
5600 W. American Blvd., Suite 540
Bloomington, MN 55437-1446
612-725-1849 (voice)
612-725-1855 (facsimile)

Billings, Montana
Probate Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
2718 Montana Avenue, Suite 300
Billings, MT 59101-2346
406-657-6960 (voice)
406-657-6966 (facsimile)

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Probate Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
1011 Indian School Road, NW, Room 322
Albuquerque, NM  87104
505-563-5330 (voice)
505-563-5341(facsimile)

Rapid City, South Dakota
Probate Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
[Moving -- Open Soon in a New Location in Rapid City]

605-342-2070 (voice)
605-342-9511 (facsimile)

Resources

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