By Matt Ward
In the more than 12 months since District Attorney Brian Kunzi first took office, a number of new faces have joined him at the courthouse.
First there was former defense attorney Nathan Gent, who was hired to replace an outgoing deputy district attorney.
Then school board trustee and private attorney Tim Sutton was hired to fill a void left on the civil side of the DA’s office leftover from when Ron Kent departed.
In the latest personnel move, Kunzi has hired the office’s only female prosecutor.
Tierra Jones, 30, started work on Nov. 7, taking the position after five years with the public defender’s office in Clark County.
Jones is originally from Hawthorne, where she attended Mineral County High School before moving off to attend the University of Nevada, Reno.
At UNR, Jones studied criminal justice and developed an urge to study law. She graduated from the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and passed the state bar exam in Oct. 2006.
Jones sat down with the Pahrump Valley Times recently to discuss her career, future aspirations and share a bit of trivia about herself.
You’re from Hawthorne, that’s a pretty small town. What do you remember the most about it?
“I remember that it was a small town, everybody knew everybody and they still do. When I go back there now everybody knows everybody.”
How often do you get back there?
“I go back to Hawthorne about three or four times a year.”
Having graduated from both UNR and UNLV, where does your loyalty lie?
“My loyalty lies with the silver and blue. Those were the best four years of my life. It’s hard. I would go back tomorrow and do it all over again, it was great.”
What was your first job out of law school?
“I clerked for Judge Stu (Stewart L.) Bell. He was phenomenal. He was District Court 7 (Clark County). I love that guy. I love him, I worship him.”
What did you do after that?
“Then I went over to the public defender’s office (Clark County). I worked there for five years.”
What was your most memorable experience there?
“My first not guilty. It was a jury trial and when the jury said not guilty, it was, it’s an unforgettable moment.”
How did you hear about the job opening in Nye County?
“I heard about it when Brian Kunzi was ready to advertise it. When I heard he was looking for a DA, I applied.”
How is it working for this DA?
“It’s been great. He’s a terrific person to work for, a great lawyer. He’s a terrific person to learn from.
What about the rest of the staff?
“They have been very welcoming and very helpful, and that’s very different for me because when I left the PD’s (public defender) office, I was second in charge of my team. When the chief wasn’t there, I was running the show. So to be the new person was different, but they have done a great job of welcoming me, the staff has been great to me.”
What is your view of the role of a prosecutor in a community this size?
“I think the prosecutor has a very important role in the community, I think they are important to the safety of the community and ensuring that justice is served to keep that safety.”
Does it help to have that experience as a public defender?
“I think that both parties are important parts in the justice system, I think it helps me better anticipate what needs to be done, what’s coming, what needs to be done to put together a good case.”
What are your short-term and long term goals?
“I hope to gain experience seeing the other side and being able to become that other person in the justice system and ensure that justice is given fairly. Long term, I would eventually, possibly like to be a judge in the far, far future.”
Who is your mentor? Is there a legal mind out there you’d like to mimic in your own career?
“Stu Bell. That guy was so smart. He was just phenomenal to watch.”
When you’re not in court what are you likely doing? Any hobbies?
“I just like to go hang out with my friends in Vegas. Shopping is probably my favorite hobby. I’m really boring. I’m so boring.”
Do you watch TV? What’s your favorite TV show?
“Beverly Hills 90210. That’s something people don’t know.”
The new one or the old one?
“Both. I love the new one. I own the box set of all the old ones. I still watch reruns of all the old ones on SOAPnet on the weekends.”