Judge Edward Jones

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Ed Jones

The first thing you notice in chambers is the books. Not just legal treatises, but books that remind you of a halcyon age when the overriding consideration was whether a course of action was moral in the cosmic sense. The kind of books and thinking that might shape a budding legal aid lawyer and a multidimensional figure who eventually became the Hon. Ed Jones.

Judge Jones came to Oregon to attend Reed College. There he met his wife, played poker and argued nearly any topic with fervor, just for the pleasure of critical thinking. He majored in literature but found in introduction to law classes the opportunity to do as well as discuss. Lewis & Clark Law School seemed to be a natural transition. Much to his disappointment, many of his law school classes did not live up to his expectations. Finding the National Lawyers Guild meant the difference between quitting law school and continuing. It allowed him to approach the law as a vehicle for social justice - a way to make a positive change in the lives of others, often those without ready access to the judicial system. He passed the bar in 1975, ready to try to make a difference.

Judge Jones glows when he talks about his most memorable cases - cases taken on as a guild lawyer. He participated in the Dennis Banks trials - a significant case respecting the rights of Native Americans. He defended Trojan trespassers, who were seeking to have this state reconsider the wisdom of developing nuclear power plants. From the guild he became a criminal defense lawyer. As a criminal defense lawyer, he felt that he had an opportunity to be a positive force for liberty and justice. His reputation is as a tireless advocate for the disenfranchised defendant.

In 1985 Judge Jones was made director of the Multnomah Defenders (MDI). He describes his time at MDI as time of excitement and accomplishment. He is proud of his time and accomplishments at MDI, an opinion shared by others who worked with him then.

Judge Jones believes that his prior criminal defense experience gives him a unique perspective as a judge by allowing him to be both compassionate and dispassionate in considering criminal issues. He sees an opportunity as judge to make a positive difference. One of his favorite projects was in working with Judge Marcus to develop sentencing guidelines to assure that sentences are not too lenient or too onerous. He has had the opportunity to handle civil matters as well and finds them fascinating. While he isn't ready to say that civil law is as interesting as criminal law, it is clear that he is delighted with the intellectual challenge and variety of issues seen in civil litigation.

Originally authored by Ann Fisher and printed in the March 2002 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2012