View All

Michael Cherry

Unidentified man, Brian Sandoval, Henry and Lillian Kronberg, and Michael Cherry at formal event, 2003

Michael A. Cherry (1944- ) is a Justice for the Nevada Supreme Court since 2006 and an active and influential member of the Las Vegas community since 1970. He served as District President and International Vice President of B’nai B’rith, Vice President of Temple Beth Sholom, President of Congregation Ner Tamid, and Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League. Cherry began his law career in the Clark County Public Defender’s Office and later moved on to private practice. He was Special Master of the MGM Grand Hotel Fire Litigation in 1981 and Special Master of the Las Vegas Hilton Fire Litigation in 1983, two major fire disasters that occurred in Las Vegas hotels just 90 days apart. His work as a liaison during the trials gained him nationwide recognition and established common procedures for mass disaster litigation. Cherry served as an Alternate Municipal Judge in Las Vegas and Henderson before he was appointed to the Clark County Special Defender’s Office in 1997. In 1998 he was elected to the Eighth District Court. As a Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, Cherry chairs the Indigent Defense Commission and the Senior Justice and Judge Program. His second term ends in 2019.

Cherry was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 10, 1944. He grew up in the Jewish neighborhood of University City and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1966, where he was a leader of his fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and a committed ROTC cadet.He graduated from Washington University Law School in 1969. During law school he was promoted to first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and he married his college sweetheart Rachel Wilson (although the couple later divorced). Cherry has two children, Meryl Thornton and David Cherry. Honors bestowed upon him include the 2011 “Champion of Indigent Defense Award” from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL); “Gala of Giving” in 2008 by the Las Vegas chapter of Hadassah; and 2004 “Mensch of the Year” from Congregation Ner Tamid. He has also been honored by the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, Clark County School District Police, Solomon Schecter Day School, Young Israel Aish, Nevada Medical Society, and Young Lawyers Section of State Bar of Nevada.



1944: Born on December 10 in St. Louis, Missouri.

1966: Graduates from the University of Missouri.

1969: Graduates from Washington University Law School.

1970: Passes the Missouri bar exam and chooses to practice law in Las Vegas.

1981: Named Special Master of the MGM Grand Hotel Fire Litigation.

1983: Named Special Master of the Las Vegas Hilton Fire Litigation.

1997: Appointed to the Clark County Special Defender’s Office.

1998: Elected to the Eighth District Court.

2006: Elected to the Nevada Supreme Court.

2012: Serves as Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Re-elected to the Nevada Supreme Court.



“Justice Michael A. Cherry.” Supreme Court of Nevada. Accessed February 12, 2015.

“Michael Cherry.” Distinguished Women and Men in Nevada. Accessed February 12, 2015.

View Related Items View Oral History Listen to Audio Clip