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Idaho Supreme Court Justice Warren Jones dies

September 4, 2018

File-In the June 26, 2007 file photo Warren Jones speaks during a news conference at the Kootenai County Courthouse after Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, left, appointed Jones to the Idaho Supreme Court, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The former Idaho Supreme Court Justice has died. He was 75 years old. (Jason Hunt/Coeur D'Alene Press via AP, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Jones has died. He was 75.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced Jones’s death on Tuesday. Otter’s office did not release details surrounding when or how Jones died.

“I always found him to be fair and balanced in his judicial temperament as well collegial and impartial in his role on the state’s highest court,” Otter said in a statement.

Jones was Otter’s first Supreme Court appointment in 2007. The two were classmates during their time studying political science at the College of Idaho.

Jones went on to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1968. After graduating law school, Jones returned to Idaho to work as a law clerk for former Chief Justice Joseph J. McFadden.

At the time of Jones’ appointment, Otter said he was looking for a judge who would be a strict constitutionalist.

Jones retired from the Supreme Court in 2017, citing personal and family health reasons. He retired nearly four years before his six-year term expired in 2021. He had experience health issues since suffering a stroke in 2014.

Jones had tried cases before juries in 38 of Idaho’s 44 counties in his 37-year career.

“I try to be very businesslike, polite,” Jones told The Associated Press in a 2007 interview when he was first appointed. “The best trial lawyers are people who approach the job in a just a very organized, businesslike, polite fashion.”

“I disagreed with him often but I really admired him,” said former Chief Justice Jim Jones, who also retired in 2017. “With his background, you would think he would be adverse to criminal defendants but he was very concerned about protecting their rights. I respected that about him and enjoyed working with him.”

Jones said his colleague was “tender hearted,” despite having a sometimes gruff exterior.

“When I went to visit him after I retired, I told him I had pancreatic cancer. He burst into tears,” Jones said. “I think he took it harder than me. That’s the kind of man he was.”

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