Judge Mel Stoof is an enrolled member of the Oyate Lakota Sicangu (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). He has worked in Indian Law for the past 20 years. Mr. Stoof served for seven years as the Chief Judge of the Jicarilla Apache Nation Court in Dulce, New Mexico, and he served three terms as a Commissioner on the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. He has lectured for the National Center for State Courts, the American Bar Association, Praxis International, and the Southwest Full Faith and Credit Project on topics covering full faith and credit issues, tribal-state jurisdictional conflicts, the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Violence Against Women Act. He trained for the American Bar Association Tribal Trial College in July 2003 as part of its Domestic Violence Civil Law Institute. He also served as a member of the editorial board for the National Tribal Justice Resource Center. Mr. Stoof is the past President of the New Mexico Indian Bar Association.
Judge Stoof graduated from the University of Houston in 1981, Magna Cum Laude, with a B.A. in English Literature, received a certificate of attendance from the Special Scholarship Pre-Law program for American Indians in 1981, and earned his J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1984. He is licensed in New Mexico, seven tribal courts, the U.S. District Courts for New Mexico, and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.