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Prominent Judge Killed by Car Near Courthouse

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U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks, a prominent and respected figure in Nevada’s legal community, died after being struck by a vehicle near the federal courthouse in Reno, Nevada. He was 80.

The Reno Police Department responded to a vehicle-pedestrian crash around 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Hicks was transported to the hospital but died from his injuries shortly after, authorities said. The driver involved in the accident stayed at the scene and is working with investigators. According to the police, impairment does not seem to have played a role in the crash.

Judge Hicks, appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2001, served Nevada with distinction for over two decades. His career was marked by significant contributions to the legal field, earning him widespread respect and admiration.

Born in Evanston, Ohio, Hicks moved to Reno from Los Angeles at age 13. He graduated from Reno High School and was the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at the University of Nevada, Reno. He joined the Sigma Nu fraternity and later earned his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

Hicks’ career began in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office in 1968. He was elected Washoe County district attorney in 1975 and served until 1979 before joining a prominent Nevada law firm. His dedication to justice was unwavering, and his impact on the community was profound.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo expressed the state’s grief: “The entire state is mourning the loss of a man with unmatched professional integrity.” Hicks’ passing leaves a substantial void in both the Reno community and the broader legal landscape of Nevada.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office paid tribute to Hicks, with Sheriff Darin Balaam reflecting on the judge’s commitment to his family and community. “Judge Hicks, despite his numerous achievements, once said, ‘My greatest thrill in life is my family.’ He lived by a philosophy that emphasized balancing family, work, and self,” Balaam said.

Hicks’ family released a heartfelt statement through the District Attorney’s Office, emphasizing his dedication to family and community: “Judge Larry Hicks was highly respected as a lawyer and judge, a loyal friend, mentor, and dedicated to justice. For us, he was, above all, a man who prioritized family. He was a hero in every sense, a loving husband of nearly 59 years, a devoted father, a cherished grandfather, and a brother. His loss is immeasurable.”

Throughout his tenure, Judge Hicks presided over a variety of high-profile cases, including environmental disputes and political corruption trials. One notable case involved the sentencing of Nevada lobbyist and political power broker Harvey Whittemore to prison for making illegal contributions to U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s campaign in 2007. Hicks also handled numerous conservationist challenges to federal land management decisions in Nevada, often deferring to the expertise of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management but not always siding with them.

In 2020, the State Bar of Nevada honored Hicks with the Presidential Award, recognizing his illustrious career. His son, Chris Hicks, the current Washoe County District Attorney, praised his father in a tribute, stating, “Congratulations, Dad. No one is more deserving! Thank you for being an incredible father, mentor, and lawyer.”

The impact of Hicks’ work extended beyond the courtroom. Reno Police Chief Kathryn Nance highlighted the judge’s influence, stating, “Judge Hicks’ death is a tragedy that will leave a lasting impact on our lives.” Flags at federal courthouses in Nevada were flown at half-staff in his honor.

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