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Judge Jerrauld C. Jones Highlights Fall Commencement

Published date: November 20, 2013

The Honorable Jerrauld C. Jones will deliver the address at Virginia State University’s 2013 Fall Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 21.  Over 300 graduates are expected to participate in the exercises, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Daniel Gymnasium. VSU will also bestow upon Judge Jones an Honorary Doctor of Laws. 


When he was sworn in on June 3, 2005, as a Judge of the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Jones became one of the few persons in Virginia history to hold office in each branch of government.  In 2007, he became that court’s Chief Judge.  On October 7, 2008, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine elevated him by appointment to the Norfolk Circuit Court.  His appointment was confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly on January 22, 2009.

On July 1, 2002, Governor Mark R. Warner appointed him to be the Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  As head of the youth authority, Director Jones was responsible for the incarceration, rehabilitation, and transitional reentry of juvenile offenders in the state. 

Prior to his gubernatorial appointment, Jones was elected eight times as a Delegate to the Virginia General Assembly where he served over 15 years.  While in the state legislature, he served on the Finance, Rules and Judiciary Committees, and he chaired Virginia’s Commission on Youth.  He enacted many positive and progressive changes within the systems of criminal and civil justice and the Commonwealth of Virginia at large.  In addition, Delegate Jones was the long time Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

After graduating with honors from Princeton University and the School of Law at Washington and Lee University, he began his legal career as the first African-American to serve as a law clerk for the Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia.  Following his clerkship, he prosecuted for two years as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Norfolk, Virginia.  For twenty-five years he was a member of the Virginia State Bar and numerous other professional, political, and civic organizations.  During his practice of law, he established a reputation as a zealous trial lawyer who handled many challenging and high profile cases.  He has received numerous honors, awards, and citations for his contributions to law and public service.  His many affiliations include the Board of Directors of the non-profit AMI Kids, Inc., and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He has been listed in Who’s Who in American Politics and Who’s Who in America. 

Judge Jones has served as a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Vera Institute of Justice.  Since his judicial appointment, he has been elected by his peers to the Board of Governors of the American Judges Association.  He has served on the faculty of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Business Institute and numerous continuing legal education programs for lawyers and judges across the country. He has twice testified before Congress and President Clinton appointed him to be a delegate to the White House Conference on Youth Violence. Virginia’s Chief Justices have appointed him to chair several Supreme Court Advisory Committees. Two Governors appointed him to the Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (ACJJ) and in addition, he was designated to represent Virginia on the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ), advising the Congress and President of the United States of America.

A jazz music aficionado, Judge Jones is married to attorney Lyn M. Simmons, a veteran Norfolk prosecutor.  They have one son, Jay, a law school student at the University of Virginia.

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