Idaho Supreme Court Justice Warren Jones has announced that he will retire on Dec. 31 for personal and family health reasons, opening the way for a third seat to turn over on the five-member court in two years.
Jones has served on the state’s highest court since 2007, when he was appointed by Gov. Butch Otter, and won election to full six-year terms in both 2008 and 2014. He has experienced health issues since suffering a stroke in 2014.
His retirement means the Idaho Judicial Council will screen applicants for appointment by the governor to serve the remainder of his term, which runs through the end of 2020. The seat opens for election again in May of 2020.
“It has been an extraordinary pleasure and privilege to serve the state and all Idahoans,” Jones said in a statement. “I love the law, and whether trying cases for almost 40 years or hearing cases on appeal throughout Idaho, serving as an attorney and judge have been wonderful experiences. I can think of no better way to finish out a legal career than by serving as a justice on the court – it has been a professional highlight and I have derived great personal satisfaction from my working relationships with the fellow justices over the last 10 years.”
Jones, a native of Montpelier, Idaho, holds degrees from the College of Idaho and the University of Chicago Law School. He joined the Idaho law firm of Eberle Berlin in 1970 and rose to become the firm’s senior litigator, trying cases before juries in 38 of Idaho’s 44 counties over his 37-year career with the firm.
“We will miss Justice Jones’ unmatched trial experience on the court,” said Chief Justice Roger Burdick. “Justice Jones has a true love of the law, and is thoughtful, thorough, and thoroughly professional.”
The retirement of Jones, 73, follows the retirement of Justice Daniel Eismann this fall; he was replaced by former 5th District Judge Richard Bevan. Former Chief Justice Jim Jones retired at the end of his term last year and was replaced by Justice Robyn Brody, who won a contested election for the seat.