Family court candidate says criminal record not an issue

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones

When voters In Knox and Laurel counties go to the polls Nov. 4 to select a new family court judge, they will have candidate Stephen Jones’ criminal history to consider.

The Committee to Elect Marilyn Benge McGhee Family Court Judge has set up a website,, where the documents detailing Jones arrests in 1998 and 2001 on charges of possession of cocaine driving under the influence and violating a domestic violence order may be viewed.

Jones noted that all of this happened prior to attending law school.

“It was what pushed me to go,” Jones said, adding that he could have petitioned to have it expunged from his record but considers it part of his testimony in his road to find God.

“Nearly 20 years ago I found myself at a crossroads in my life after some bad decisions,” Jones stated. “I chose faith in God, family and higher education, thanks to a loving wife and a fair judge.”

Jones added that he has not noticed any blowback from the record coming to light.

According to the documents on Dec. 19, 1998, Jones was arrested about five miles north of Manchester in Clay County on charges possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Clay County Sheriff’s deputies reported they found Jones parked in a drive and went up to the vehicle to check on him.

Officers reported finding a container with powdery residue in it and a baggie with a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

In addition, officers found a handgun in Jones’ pants that was covered by his shirt.

Jones pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree possession of a controlled substance. In return, he was sentenced to one year in jail, conditionally discharged provided he completes a drug rehab program in Corpus Christi, Tex. In addition, he was not to enter Clay County except for court appearances. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Prior to that case, Jones had nothing except for three speeding tickets on his record.

In addition, the web site contains documents detailing a domestic violence order Jones wife, Michelle secured against him in 1998 and his subsequent arrest for violating the order.

On Jan. 26, 2001, Jones was initially stopped for speeding on U.S. 25 approximately six miles south of London.

Kentucky State Police noted Jones had the strong smell of alcohol on his person.

Jones told the trooper that he had drunk two beers and a margarita.

After failing multiple field sobriety tests, Jones was arrested on charges of DUI, speeding and no insurance.

Jones blew a .106 on a Breathalyzer test.

Jones pleaded guilty to the DUI and completed rehab.

On Aug.18, 1998 Michelle Jones secured a domestic violence order against her husband.

In the request, Michelle Jones said on August 9, Stephen Jones was abusing drugs when he threatened to kill her and burned her clothes.

On Sept. 11, Michelle Jones filed for an amendment to the order to keep Stephen Jones off of the family’s property and out of the house.

Michelle Jones claimed that Stephen Jones had broken into the home multiple times and had attempted to start a fire.

One Sept. 30, 1998, Stephen Jones was arrested for violating the order.

Jones was ordered to stay away from Michelle Jones except when the couple attended counseling.

They were given joint custody of their children with Steven Jones being granted visitation.

In April 1999 Michelle Jones petitioned for the order to be amended so that he could have contact with her.

Jones said he and his wife have since reconciled and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

“I went to law school and became a successful lawyer,” Jones stated. “That’s what I want to be, a fair judge that believes in the court system and truly cares about the families/children, one who has the temperament and understanding to give people hope of a better future despite their past, not one who is intolerant and pre-disposed to a decision before hearing any evidence.”

“My experience will serve me, and if it be God’s will, our communities as well, as family court judge.”

Jones finished second to McGhee in the May primary by at total of 758 votes in the two counties. McGhee finished first in Laurel County with 5,434 votes to Jones’ 4,496 and incumbent Durenda Lundy Lawsons’ 2,219.

In Knox County, Lawson garnered the most votes with 3,705, with 2,169 votes cast for Jones and 1,989 voting for McGhee.

“Everything I’m hearing is, this is pushing more people to support me,” Jones said.