Did Judge Jones Fail to Heed His Own Advice?

Larry Caldwell

In his commencement speech at Dickinson College, Judge John Jones said:

“Each day as a federal trial judge . . . I am at risk of deciding a case incorrectly if I accept that which is presented to me at face value.” (Emphasis added.)

Judge Jones’ statement is ironic in light of his decision in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, in which he appears to have copied incorrect facts supplied by the ACLU attorneys without having his clerk check those facts against the actual evidence in the record. I understand that federal judges and their staff are busy. However, given how important –indeed, even historical — Judge Jones believes the Kitzmiller case to have been (just ask him), one would have hoped he would have made a more diligent effort to get the facts right. Instead, Judge Jones penned a prime example of the kind of “incorrect decision” that can result when a federal trial judge fails to heed his own advice.