Hugh Jones died peacefully at home on March 3, 2001, only days short of his 87th birthday. Having begun my own judicial career at his side, and continued our close friendship for nearly eighteen years thereafter, for me the loss was especially profound.
Judge Jones, of course, would have been the first to dissent from all my somber sentiments. He loved his life, filled it to the brim, enjoyed it immensely, and directed that there be absolutely no sadness on his passing. Most especially, he treasured his years as a Judge of the New York Court of Appeals--from January 1973 until his mandated retirement twelve years later, in December 1984--describing all the years before as "prologue" and all the years after as "epilogue."
There is so much to say about Judge Jones's contributions to his community and to society--for example, his service as Oneida County and then New York State Bar President, Chancellor to the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, Trustee of Hamilton College and Trustee of the State University of New York, Chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominations, and Chair of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Liability Insurance. By the same token, there is so much to say about his manifold contributions to the substantive law of this State and nation. As examples, I mention only a handful of his familiar writings for the Court of Appeals, like Codling v. Paglia, (1) People v. Darden, (2) People v. Onofre, (3) Levittown Union Free School District v. Nyquist, (4) and New York Criminal & Civil Courts Bar Ass'n v. Jacoby & Meyers. (5)
Instead of reciting his public record of landmark achievements--which you can read elsewhere--I would like to exercise a Chiefly prerogative and speak from the heart, with joy and gratitude, about a beloved colleague, mentor, and friend.
I think first of innumerable personal incidents--like the hair-raising tours of the Court's rooftop Judge Jones was fond of conducting; and the hapless thief who stole the clothing from Judge Jones's Albany hotel room and was eventually found wearing his shoes, not realizing that no one else could fill those shoes; and Judge Jones's vintage stationary bicycle, equipped with a huge reading stand, so he would not miss a minute preparing for Court. The "joy" part is recalling the many, many such incidents that every day bound our lives together.
The gratitude is for his example, and for his teaching.
What stands out for me about Judge Jones are his analytical skill, the...