Longtime Carson City Judge Mike Fondi dies at 78

Longtime Carson City District Judge Mike Fondi died Friday after a long battle with cancer.

He was 78.

Fondi was originally appointed to the bench by then-gov. Mike O’Callaghan in July 1977. He was elected to the post four times, serving a total of 23 years before retiring in August 2000.

Before becoming a judge, Fondi was elected Carson District Attorney in 1970 and served for six years until appointed to the bench. Before that, he was chief deputy DA for four years and before that a deputy attorney general. He began his public career as a legal assistant to Gov. Grant Sawyer in 1963.

In all, Fondi spent 37 years in public service.

During his career, he handled many of the biggest cases in state history. Until the law was changed, all appeals by prison inmates were handled in Carson City’s 1st District so that list included a large number of appeals by those on Nevada’s death row. He was instrumental in changing that law to relieve the pressure on the two Carson City District Courts.

Fondi also was chair of the Supreme Court study that resulted in major changes to how death penalty cases were handled and helped develop new arbitration rules in Carson City as well as mediation for child custody cases to make those processes more efficient.

Fondi was born in April 1937 in Ely. He graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in 1959, and Hastings College of Law, University of California, in 1962.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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