C. Paul Jones, Minnesota’s first state public defender, died Tuesday. He was 84.
After spending 15 years in private practice and then as an assistant U.S. attorney in Minnesota, Jones became “a pioneer in the Minnesota legal community” by becoming the state’s first full-time public defender in 1965, said Eric Janus, dean of William Mitchell College of Law. According to Janus, in a release on the school’s website, Jones was a leader in hiring women as public defenders when private law firms did not.
Jones also founded the Minnesota Criminal Justice Institute and served on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Rules of Criminal Procedures committee for 30 years. He taught at Mitchell, in various capacities, for nearly 50 years.
Wednesday, a day after Jones’s death, his wife, Helen, passed away.