Jerome Polaha

Jerome M. Polaha


Jerome M. Polaha was District Court Judge in Department 3 of the Second Judicial District Court from 1999 - 2020.

Judge Polaha was born in Pennsylvania and attended Syracuse University for Russian language studies while in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated in the summer of 1964 from the University of Nevada and left Nevada to study law in Washington, D.C. at George Washington University. He graduated in February 1968 and returned to Nevada where he passed the state bar exam that summer.

After working as an associate for the firm of Breen and Young in Reno, he was one of the first three lawyers who began the Washoe County Public Defender's Office in July 1969. After leaving that post in 1972, he remained in private practice for many years, mostly as a sole practitioner, but also as a partner in several firms. He was a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.

He presented various seminars on criminal defense and trial techniques throughout his career and taught criminal law at Old College School of Law and was on the faculty at the National Judicial College. He served on the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission.

Judge Polaha was appointed to the bench by Governor Kenny Guinn in March 1999 and was retained by voters until his retirement in 2020.

Judge Polaha served on various boards and church organizations, including the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, Old College, Leadership College, Restart, and the board of Animal Ark, a not-for-profit organization that assists injured and abandoned wild animals.

As of 2023, Judge Polaha continues to serve the Second Judicial District Court as a Senior Judge.

Second Judicial District Court
75 Court St.
Reno, Nevada, 89501