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Retired Washoe judge Adams passes away


Retired Washoe County Judge Brent T. Adams, who served for 25 years on the Second Judicial Court bench, died Nov. 2 in his home. He was 74. 

Washoe County Second Judicial District Court Judge Brent T. Adams. Image: Provided by the Court.
Washoe County Second Judicial District Court Judge Brent T. Adams. Image: Provided by the Court.

Judge Adams had been called a pioneer for innovations he brought to Washoe County’s courts, including drug court, bench-bar committees, pretrial services, business court and the early case resolution program. Adams was appointed to the bench in July 1989 by then-Gov. Bob Miller and then elected four times to the bench. 

Adams also served for more than 20 years on the faculty of the National Judicial College, teaching judges across the country as well as internationally, reaching judges in Russia, Colombia, Siberia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. 

Before his time as a judge, Adams spent two years before attending law school to work as a reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal where he was named Outstanding Reporter, the Charles E. Murray Award by the Nevada State Press Association. 

Following law school, he had a lengthy career – 17 years – as both a public and private attorney. During a five-year term in which he served as a federal public defender, his office had the highest jury verdict success rate of any federal defender office in the nation. 

“While Nevada’s legal community mourns the passing of Judge Adams, we celebrate his dedication to the rule of law and the legacy he leaves for all of us to follow,” said Justice James Hardesty. “Simply put, Judge Adams was an outstanding lawyer and a model Judge. He was empathetic to those who appeared before him, principled in his conviction to follow the law, searching in his pursuit  of the truth, thoughtful in his deliberations, and committed to the timely administration of justice for the  benefit of his community.” 

Adams was also an avid reader, passionate musician, speaker and mediator. He is survived by his wife Elise, sons Thomas (Alyssa) and William, stepson Toby Jennings (Anna), and grandchildren Margaret Adams, and Maya and Leon Jennings, all from Reno. 

A private funeral mass was held for Adams. Donations can be made in his name to the National Judicial College where a fund is set up in his memory, or to the Education Alliance.

Source: Washoe County

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