Great Falls

Dec 21, 2013 1:45 PM by Cody Proctor (cody@krtv.com)

Retiring Great Falls municipal judge recalls time on the bench

GREAT FALLS - Not long after she and her husband moved to Great Falls from Washington, Nancy Luth started volunteering at the Civic Center.

She recalled, "Just came into the city offices and said 'You know, I'd just like to...can I help out doing something? Legal research or something?' So that lasted for a few weeks and they felt kind of guilty and so they put me on the payroll."

Now 30 years later, Luth is stepping down from her position as Great Falls' municipal judge.

Luth says when she took over the city court judge's position, which eventually became municipal court, it was overwhelming to have to make decisions and keep up with paperwork.

But she says she has also heard some interesting stories, like the time when a police officer came to her house the night before Christmas.

She told the officer, "If those kids wake up, you had better 'Ho ho ho' very convincingly because I've got kids that can hardly wait to see what Santa brought them and we do not want to ruin it just because we're dealing with a search warrant in the middle of the night!"

While she does have plans to get a new dog and go on a bicycle trip with her husband Carl, Luth says she has enjoyed her time in the courtroom.

"For me it was a great fit. That's probably why I stayed as long as I did. And so I hope somebody else gets enjoyment out of being judge as well."

And Luth advises her successor to have a bit of patience and a good sense of humor.

The city is currently looking for applicants for the job.

(December 11, 2013) Judge Nancy Luth, who has spent 30 years in municipal law in Great Falls, has announced that she will retire in January.

She started her career as an Assistant City Attorney in 1984.

In 1990, she was appointed to serve out a previous judge's term, and then was elected as a City Court Judge the following year.

The City Commission established the Municipal Court system in 1997, and Judge Luth became the City's first Municipal Judge.

A press release from the deputy city manager notes that Luth has been responsible for managing the third-busiest municipal court in the state.

In 1994, she developed the City Court Canned Food Drive Day, which allowed defendants making monthly payments on fines the option, for one day, to bring in canned food in lieu of payment. The food collected was then donated to the Great Falls Community Food Bank.

The most recent Canned Food Drive was held just last week.

Luth says she will miss her staff, the defendants, and her colleagues the most.