He often looked like he slept in the suit he came to court in.
His tie, usually hanging out of a pocket before trial, appeared to be an afterthought.
The comb-over didn’t add anything toward a professional appearance.
But under the used car salesman persona was a sharp defense attorney.
Floyd P. Jones, a regular in the York County courthouse until 2003, died Dec. 21 at Hershey Medical Center. He was 62.
When he was in his prime, any jury trial involving Jones was bound to be entertaining, at least from the perspective of a news reporter.
His cross-examination of prosecution witnesses could be brutal, especially when he challenged an expert witness’s findings and commonwealth witnesses with less than stellar backgrounds who were subpoenaed into court.
“He was a good lawyer,” former assistant district attorney Bill Graff said Monday. “I never underestimated him.”
Graff and Jones faced off repeatedly over the years in cases before Sr. Judge John H. Chronister. Jones frequently represented low-level drug dealers and Chronister regularly appointed him to defend indigent homicide suspects.
“He looked disorganized and disheveled, but he knew what he was doing,” Graff said. “He was a worthy adversary.”
Jones spent some time in the DA’s office and also in the public defender’s office working with Chronister, Richard Renn who also was elected judge, and Tom Kearney, now the county’s DA. Chronister said Jones was of “equal caliber and ability” with the others.
Chronister recalled his observation that it was best not to get Jones’ passions up in the courtroom. When someone did, Jones “became better,” Chronister said.
“He would become so aroused in his passion he could convince you, just because he believed so strongly, it had to be true,” Chronister said.
Chronister said Jones’ was not big on drawing attention to himself and that his primary interest for his clients was “to get the right result. Justice, so to speak, unlike many attorneys. He wanted a fair result.”
Jones’s life and law career fell apart in the early 2000s. Those close to him may know why. I don’t.
Jones disappeared from York County in late 2003 after failing to appear at a domestic relations hearing over outstanding spousal support.
He was disbarred in March 2005 for abandoning his law practice and failing to complete work a client had paid him for.
He remained a fugitive until June 26, 2005, when he was arrested on a York County warrant in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Jones appeared in the court where he had practiced in August 2005 — wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs — and pleaded guilty to taking $2,236 of a client’s money and no contest to passing 14 bad checks.
He was sentenced to time served – 28 days – to 23 months.
“I was always surprised that he got into difficulties later because he was such a good attorney,” Chronister said.
Jones’ funeral is 5 p.m. Dec. 30 at Foursquare Gospel Church, 518 Wilson Ave., Hanover.