Bar Association honors former circuit judge

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Dallas County Bar Association has recognized former Circuit Judge Tommy Jones for his 18 years of service to the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Jones, who served as circuit judge from 1995 to 2012, was presented with a resolution thanking him for his service Monday at the Dallas County Courthouse.

“Tommy’s 18 years of service as circuit judge throughout the five counties of the Fourth Judicial Circuit exhibited sound knowledge of the law, courtesy to all who appeared before him, an admirable work ethic, an ability to analyze litigation and to manage complex litigation, both pretrial and during trial,” part of the resolution reads.

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Jones said he has also been recognized by Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Sen. Hank Sanders and Gov. Kay Ivey.

“It’s a pretty special time when people of that caliber recognize you and thank you for your service,” Jones said.

Jones was born and raised in Selma and Dallas County. He graduated high school from Selma High School and got his undergrad in history at the University of Alabama. Jones earned his law degree from Cumberland School of Law and was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in April 1984.

Jones initially practiced general law with Philip H. Pitts and J. Garrison Thompson of Pitts, Pitts & Thompson from 1984 to 1986.

He then practiced as a sole practitioner from 1986 until 1995. During that time, he served as municipal judge for the city of Selma from 1990 to 1995.

In the 1994 June primaries, Jones was elected to serve as circuit court judge for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which serves Dallas, Bibb, Hale, Perry and Wilcox counties.

“Tommy’s judicial service brought great credit to the bench and respect to the practicing bar,” the resolution reads.

Jack Meigs, another former circuit judge, who served on the bench during that same time, said Jones was deserving of the recognition.

“I really enjoyed our time with him. He had a good knowledge of the law and a good demeanor on the bench. He was an excellent judge,” Meigs said.

Jones said he presided over thousands of cases during his 18-year career on the bench.

“I could not even begin to tell you,” Jones said.

He said he presided over several hundred jury trials, 25-30 capital murder trials, complex litigation for product liability and medical malpractice, as well as domestic relations, non-jury trials and other cases.

“You’re constantly in trial somewhere, whether it’s jury or non-jury, so all total it would be in the thousands,” Jones said. “A lot of what you do is very stressful. Sometimes the days are long and the decisions are hard, and you get criticized a lot because you don’t please everybody all of the time.”

Looking back on his career as a judge, Jones said the opportunity came at just the right time.

“It was perfect in my life, came at the perfect time,” he said. “My kids were younger. I would take them to court with me, and they were exposed to the law and to the system. My schedule was a little more flexible.”

Since leaving the bench, Jones has gone back to practicing law as a partner with Pitts, Williams & Jones.

“Starting my sixth year back in the practice, I find myself to have a greater and deeper knowledge of the law and a little more wisdom, I guess because of my age, to handle things,” Jones said.

“It’s just been a terrific career and terrific run, and I’m having fun.”