In memoriam: Judge Patrick Flanagan

Judge N. Patrick Flanagan III, an alumnus and faculty member of the College, passed away on Oct. 6 in Reno. He was 64.

Judge N. Patrick Flanagan III

At the time of his death, Judge Flanagan was the chief judge of the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County, Nevada. He served the court for 10 years and was named chief judge in 2016. He completed nine courses at the College before joining its faculty in 2011. He was an instructor in General Jurisdiction and Conducting the Trial, among other courses.

After receiving his law degree from California Western School of Law in 1978, he served as a public defender and a federal public defender in Reno. He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark death penalty case of Sumner v. Shuman (1987), made numerous appearances before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and was the lead counsel in the nation’s second-longest criminal trial, U.S. v. Baker (1991).

He entered private practice before suffering a paralyzing bicycle accident in 2001. Flanagan never let his loss of mobility impede him. He later returned to work, was elected to a district court bench, and earned a third-degree Tae Kwon Do black belt while in a wheelchair.

Flanagan served as chair of the ABA’s Section of Litigation and as president of the Washoe County Bar Association and the State Bar of Nevada, among many other posts. At the time of his death, he was pursuing a master’s in law with a final thesis on expanding the role of paralegals to assist the underserved community with mediation and pre-trial services.

The Reno Gazette-Journal published this story about his life and passing.

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