Justice of the Peace
Judge Ruth Kolhoss comes from a family that has roots in the Moapa Valley dating back four generations. She was born in Overton and now makes her home in Moapa.
Ruth originally started working in the Moapa Valley court system as a clerk for Justice of the Peace Marley Robinson. When Judge Robinson perished in a fire at her home in 2002, it left a vacancy that needed to be filled.
“When the judge died unexpectedly, it was up to the county commissioner to appoint a person to fill the vacancy until an election could be held. I was asked to take that position,” Judge Ruth explains. “I liked the way Judge Robinson ran things. It was fair and good for people. I wanted to carry on in her tradition.”
Moapa Valley is not generally considered a high-crime area, so most of the court’s business is traffic-related and focused on people who speed or drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. On occasion, there will be a domestic violence case or petty larceny at a local store—and sometimes, Judge Ruth will preside over a wedding ceremony.
“A lot of people think judges only put people in jail,” she says. “And that’s not really true here at all. Very few people end up with jail sentences.”
Judge Ruth enjoys talking about life in the valley, “It’s peaceful here. We don’t really have much crime. There are a lot of open spaces—it’s a beautiful place. No one bothers you, and folks get behind you to help you out if you have a problem. It’s a really nice place to live.”
And when asked her feelings about the life of a judge in her rural community, she smiles. Her answer is simple and straightforward. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do.”
Update from 2023:
Ruth’s busy work as a judge continues, though she is busier with work on civil (rather than criminal) cases. Now, with cases like traffic tickets on her docket, Ruth’s workload is bigger than ever. She loves our peaceful community, which she describes as good neighbors who always help each other. Though she suffered a leg injury last fall, she looks forward to making a full recovery. Ruth believes her role as a judge in Moapa Valley is to help our community stay safe and peaceful so everyone can continue to enjoy the wonderful area we all share.