Amanda Kunzi recently took over as Mineral County’s new deputy district attorney. Born in Indiana, Kunzi moved with her family to Nevada at the age of 4. Her Hawthorne roots run deep.
“My dad (Nye County DA Brian Kunzi) was raised here in Hawthorne and graduated high school here. My family’s been here 50 or 60 years,” Kunzi said.
Kunzi’s father eventually obtained the Mineral County DA post and the family moved to Hawthorne during Kunzi’s fourth-grade year. The family left Hawthorne when Kunzi was 13. She graduated from Pahrump Valley High School.
Kunzi attended University of Nevada at Reno where she majored in speech communications. She graduated in 2008.
“I went up to Washington to attend law school at Seattle University. I was in Seattle for about six years,” Kunzi said.
She added, “I worked for the prosecutor’s office in Pierce County, which is right outside of Seattle. I did a little defense work as well. I was looking to come home and when I found out this job was available I jumped on it.”
Practicing both the defense and prosecutorial sides of the law helped Kunzi decide her passion lay with prosecution. “I grew up with a one-track mind. I loved being around my dad and the courts and offices. I went to law school with that in mind,” Kunzi said.
After three years with the Pierce County prosecutor’s office, Kunzi gave defense a try. “I enjoyed it to a certain extent; it was a challenge, but I didn’t have the passion for it,” Kunzi said.
One of the huge challenges Kunzi faces is not much different than many professions: Trying to keep abreast of rapidly evolving technology. “Ways to hide and commit crimes is becoming much easier. You have to come up with creative ways to deal with these situations,” Kunzi said.
“It’s a huge challenge, but it helps keep it interesting,” Kunzi added.
On Kunzi’s desk is a small toy model of a pinball machine. When asked, she cheerfully admits to a pinball addiction. “I have a real pinball machine at my house. I love it, and I compete all over the country. I’m even ranked.”
Kunzi finds her life as a rural attorney rewarding in itself. “When I worked in Pierce County, I worked about 100 cases a week. You hardly had time to look at the case. Here, you can get much more hands-on in the cases you’re dealing with. You can see the immediate effects on the individuals involved in the case.”
Kunzi says she’s perfectly happy with the Hawthorne life: “Career-wise I think this is a great opportunity for me. It gives me the ability to jump right in and handle a lot of different matters. I’m looking to be here as long as I’m challenged and learning new things and that could be a long while.”