New Family Circuit Judge plans to bring fairness and open mindedness to the bench

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones

By Bobbie Poynter

Stephen Jones, 48, will officially take over the position as Family Circuit Judge for the 27th Judicial District, Division 3, on Jan. 5, 2015. The bench will cover both Knox and Laurel counties. Currently, Knox County family court cases are scheduled on Wednesdays and Friday.

Born in Plainfield, Ind., Jones’ family moved to London when he was still a child, and London is where he has laid down his roots. He is a 1984 graduate of Laurel County High School, received a political science degree from Eastern Kentucky University in 1988 and received his law degree in 2004 from the Appalachian School of Law.

Jones feels he is respected for his level head, calm temperament and demeanor. This, he hopes will work in his favor when it comes to defusing already tense situations in the courtroom.

“When people come into family court, they are already mad and uptight,” said Jones. “If the judge is uptight, this will bleed down to the family and only serve to make a bad situation worse.”

Jones says he will base his decisions on the law and sprinkle in some common sense.

“I speak from my heart and shoot from my hip, and whatever comes out comes out,” he said.

Jones is grateful to his predecessor, Judge Marilyn Binge McGhee, who has helped make the transition of offices go so smoothly.

I want to thank Judge McGee for all her help,” said Jones. “She as opened her office to me and has been a great help with advice during the transition period,” he said.

Jones said he also wishes to thank those who supported him in the election.

“We met so many good people during the campaign,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here preparing to take on this important challenge if it weren’t for God, my wife, my family, and of course, everyone in the community that supported me.”

The incoming judge wants to give kids some hope for a better future, despite their past and whatever their families went through in the divorce.

“Divorce is not the end,” he said. “Too many times kids are used as pawns in the divorce or as leverage to get the upper hand.”

Jones says he will make quick decisions, but not rush for the sake of rushing, especially when there are children involved.

“The important thing is to look out for the children,” he said. “My goal is to be fair with people, but at the same time, be sure the children are provided for.”

Jones’ wife Missy agreed with her husband.

“He doesn’t care what their name is how much money they make, he will treat them fair,” she said.

While Jones is in office, he has plans to implement some programs, charities and grants that are not in place right now.

“By the end of this first term, I want people to remember me as a judge that the children in this community deserve, a judge who was fair, open-minded and gave back to the community,” said Jones. “How that will work out is yet to be seen. Until they come in front of me, that’s going to tell the tale.”

Jones and his wife, Michelle (Missy), who volunteers at West Knox Elementary School, have been married for 26 years. They are long-time members of Slate Ridge Bible Church in Lily.

They have four children, Stephen, 23, a senior at EKU, Jarred, 21, a senior at Brown University, Ruby, 19, a freshmen at EKU, and Michael, 17, who is currently a senior at South Laurel High School.