Lester V. Jones, 74

Served in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1975

November 09, 2006

Lester V. Jones, a former Bel Air lawyer who had served in the Maryland House of Delegates, died of lung cancer Friday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 74.

Mr. Jones was born and raised in Kingsville and graduated in 1950 from Kenwood High School. After serving in the Army from 1952 to 1955, he became a mechanical engineer at Edgewood Arsenal.

Mr. Jones was a 1959 graduate of the old Mount Vernon Law School in Baltimore, and was an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore County from 1962 until entering private practice in 1966. He had offices in Towson and Bel Air, and specialized in criminal defense.

He rose to political prominence during the 1960s in the Essex-based Democratic political machine headed by former state Sen. James A. Pine. He served in the House of Delegates from 1966 to 1975, and was chairman of the Baltimore County delegation in 1971.

In 1978, he lost in the Democratic primary for state Senate. He also lost an election bid to become a judge on the Harford County Circuit Court in 1984.

In 1980, Mr. Jones made headlines when he successfully appealed the case of Donald J. Kelly, a Bel Air police officer, in which a lie detector test was admitted as evidence against his client. "Mr. Jones argued on appeal that such tests were unreliable and constitutionally shouldn't be used as enough evidence to convict a defendant," The Sun reported in a 1987 profile.

In 1992, Mr. Jones was convicted on income tax evasion charges - resulting in a prison term and the end of his career as an attorney. He subsequently worked as a paralegal in his former law practice, which he had turned over to a daughter, family members said.

Mr. Jones enjoyed collecting antique cars and was especially fond of his 1955 Ford Thunderbird.

He was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 12022 Jerusalem Road, Kingsville, where a memorial service will be held at noon Saturday.

Surviving are his wife of 48 years, the former Shirley Schulz; two daughters, Karen Jones Boyle of Baldwin and Patricia A. Cates of Easley, S.C.; a sister, Nellie Plott of Abingdon; and three grandchildren.

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