||C. Darnell Jones, II
President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas
Judge C. Darnell Jones was named President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in December 2005. He served as President Judge from January 2006 to October 2008, when he was commissioned as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. At the time Judge Jones was elected President Judge, he had already served as a judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for eighteen years, spending six years in the civil division and twelve years in the criminal division. During this time Judge Jones served as presiding judge in the Homicide Division, Major Civil Trial Division, and Commerce Case Management Program. He also served as managing judge of the Adult Probation and Parole Department, as a member of the Judicial Education Committee, and as a Supervising Judge of the Philadelphia County Grand Jury.
Judge Jones graduated from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1975 with his Juris Doctorate degree. Immediately after law school, Judge Jones served with the Defenders Association of Philadelphia. Shortly after, he became Assistant Chief, and then Chief, of the Family Court Division, representing indigent juvenile defendants charged with delinquent, criminal offences. Governor Casey appointed him to be a judge and he was elected to the judiciary for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1987. He was retained in 1997, and began his term as President Judge in 2006.
Judge Jones succeeded Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson as President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Expanding the use of courtroom technology, improving the public perception of Family Court judges, and making Philadelphia a leader in judicial education were some of the goals Judge Jones hoped to achieve during his tenure as the President Judge. In addition, shortly after his election as President Judge, C. Darnell Jones was appointed Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of the First Judicial District by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
During his tenure as President Judge, Jones was instrumental in the creation of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Division Pilot Program for Philadelphia County, which was launched in April of 2008. Responding to an economic downturn and sharp increase in owner-occupied home foreclosures, the program used mandated negotiations between mortgage lenders and homeowners to prevent delinquent premises from going to Sheriff Sale. Currently overseen by Judge Annette Rizzo, the program continues to help Philadelphia County residents resolve their foreclosure cases and keep their homes.
Two years into his term as President Judge, Jones was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve in the U.S. District Court for the eastern District of Pennsylvania. Judge Jones was confirmed by the Senate in September 2008, and received his commission in October 2008. Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe succeeded Judge Jones as President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in December 2008.
In addition to his duties as a jurist, Judge Jones has been an active educator since 1991, teaching at St. Joseph's University's Graduate School, Temple University's Beasley School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania's Law School, The National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and The National Judicial College.
In 2006, Judge Jones was elected to the Board of Directors of the American College of Business Court Judges. In 2008, he was appointed to the Board of Advisors at the Earl Mack School of Law at Drexel University and the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.
Judge Jones has also received numerous awards and honors, including the Thurgood Marshall Award for Excellence and the Brandeis Law Society Award for Community Service.