PAHRUMP—Nye County Deputy District Attorney Don Chairez passed away Thursday from COVID-related complications. His death comes just three days after long-time Justice Court Bailiff Gerald “Bear” Smith died, also from COVID-related complications.
“We are devastated and our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Don and his family, as they do to Bear and his family,” Arabia said. “Don was a beloved father, husband, brother, and a beloved figure around the Pahrump Courthouse.”
Chairez joined the District Attorney’s Office in March of 2019. Prior to that, he practiced criminal defense and immigration law. Don served as a District Court Judge in Las Vegas from 1994 until 1998, when he resigned to run for Congress and almost pulled off an upset victory. His career also included working as a prosecutor for both the Clark and Washoe County District Attorney’s Offices.
Chairez presided over approximately 25 murder trials as a Judge and was counsel in approximately 90 jury trials as an attorney.
“Don was just an unassuming, nice person who did a great deal to promote justice over his long and varied career,” Arabia said. “He was a great legal mind and courtroom lawyer and, unlike a lot of attorneys, he also excelled at making people smile.”