Judge Luth Announces Her Retirement

City of Great Falls Montana


DATE:  December 9, 2013
CONTACT: Jennifer Reichelt, Deputy City Manager – 455-8417


GREAT FALLS, Montana – After serving thirty years in municipal law at the City of Great Falls, Judge Nancy Luth is announcing her retirement at the end of January 2014. Judge Luth started her career at the City in 1984 as the Assistant City Attorney and was appointed to serve out the previous Judge’s term in 1990. She was elected City Court Judge in 1991. The City Commission established the Municipal Court system in 1997, and Judge Luth became the City’s first Municipal Judge. When asked what she enjoyed most about the position she said, “Interacting with people is really the best part of the job. My staff, the defendants, and my colleagues – they are who I’m going to miss the most.”

Judge Luth has been responsible for managing the third busiest municipal court in the state. The cities of Missoula and Billings may have the most caseloads by volume, but they also have two judges to help with the work. For the past 24 years, Judge Luth has been responsible for hearing all of the City’s cases and managing a staff of seven. It has been her job to keep the office organized, well run, streamlined and to “keep the wheels on the train.”

All you have to do is talk to the Judge’s staff to know she is going to be missed. When asked about the Judge’s retirement, Lexi Pancich, Court Supervisor, had this to say, “I’ve had the pleasure to work with Judge Luth for six years and I’ve learned so much from her. She is a wealth of information and her replacement is going to have really big shoes to fill!”

Throughout her career Judge Luth has had the opportunity to see and make significant changes in Great Falls as well as 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 donated to the Great Falls Community Food Bank. According to Judge Luth, “The importance behind Canned Food Day was that it not only benefited the Food Bank, but that it gave people who may be indigent or working two jobs, or who might never have the benefit of knowing what it's like to contribute to their community, an opportunity to do that.”  Judge Luth worked with the Legislature to amend State law pertaining to alternative sentencing procedures to allow activities like this to continue across the state.

Other important legislation Judge Luth has been involved in includes amending State law to allow judge’s not to have to appoint a public defender if no jail time is being imposed to a defendant (saving time and money to all involved) and allowing younger attorneys to sit as substitute judges in limited court jurisdictions (this law went into effect in October of this year). She also was involved in legislation that allowed for both video arraignment and sentencing to take place at the same time in limited court jurisdictions. One of her more recent accomplishments has been serving on the State’s Domestic Fatality Review Committee. The Committee made a recommendation to expand the 24/7 program to non-DUI cases, which was accepted and has been implemented throughout the State.

Judge Luth received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She is happily married to Carl Rostad with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Great Falls, and is the proud mother of two: Caroline who lives in Norman, Oklahoma, and Sam, who is studying for his Phd at Notre Dame. She is looking forward to being retired and spending time with her family, having the opportunity to sleep in and getting a dog (and naming him Carl).