Deputy DA’s love for criminal law growing |

Deputy DA’s love for criminal law growing

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Deputy District Attorney Kelly Werth, a UNR alum, played football with Barry Sanders while at Oklahoma State University. His love of football is competing these days with his love for criminal law.

In talking with Kelly Werth you get the distinct impression that as a boy his dream job would have been as a pro football coach. But as a man, he has happened into a job that couldn’t make him any happier.

“I’m having a ball over here,” said Carson City’s newest deputy district attorney. “It’s so challenging and the part that I like is that there is some actual finality to some of these cases.”

A native Nevadan and 1984 Wooster High graduate, the former Nevada Wolf Pack player has spent the 12 years since getting his law degree from the University of Tulsa dabbling in most every aspect of the legal profession, from civil litigation to public interest law, from private practice to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

“But what I had been doing wasn’t fulfilling on a personal level. I just knew there was more that I could do with my law degree,” he said.

In February, he was hired by the district attorney’s office and, he said, this is the law he dreamed of practicing.

“I’ve had a good sampling and I’m by far best suited for this,” he said.

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The son of an ironworker father and homemaker mother, Werth is one of six children, three of whom went on to college.

For a father who never graduated high school but had “a work ethic that was unmatched in my opinion,” that’s pretty good, Werth said.

“My father was proud of the football. I think he was obviously more proud when he saw me get my diploma,” he said. “Knowing my father’s background, I do realize how fortunate we were that he gave us all the chance to go to college.”

Married to wife, Christina, the couple have four children ranging in ages from 13 years to 20 months.

Werth said the one thing he’s noticed about criminal law, and most specifically the Carson City District Attorney’s Office, is that the workload is grueling.

But still, with creative time management he finds it in his schedule to coach his kids in football, basketball and wrestling.

“I keep what I call construction worker hours, coming in sometimes at 6:30 in the morning so I can leave at five.”

And all this without the use of a cell phone.

“That’s my biggest pet peeve,” he noted with a chuckle. “When I see people on cell phones in cars or in stores. I think it’s rude.”

Unfortunately for him, Christina doesn’t have a similar aversion. And despite her husband’s stubbornness, “she always finds me.”

After more than a decade in as an attorney, Werth sounds relieved to now be in a place where he found his niche.

“It’s never dull over here. I envisioned getting into the courtroom quite a bit, and this is what I envisioned. I wanted to be a trial lawyer, and I am definitely getting the chance to be that.”

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.