A longtime state Attorney General and Idaho Supreme Court Justice will be honored Thursday by the Idaho Humanities Council.

When asked about his upcoming award for his career as a public servant, Jim Jones jokes that he’ll have to be on his best behavior Thursday night.

“Quite frankly I was just flabbergasted that the Idaho Humanities Council picked me, but very deeply appreciative. I guess now I have to behave, to not make it appear they made a mistake,” jokes Jones.


Jones was born in Eden, Idaho and went to Valley High School. He got a law degree, served in the Army and worked for Senator Len B. Jordan in the 1970s. He eventually ran for Attorney General in 1982 and later served on the Idaho Supreme Court.


Now he’s retired and spends some of his time advocating for refugees — a passion he’s had since he served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

He says when he was in Vietnam in 1968 and ’69 with the Army, he worked closely with Vietnamese refugees and trusted his life to them. That experience sparked his later work with refugees coming to Idaho.

He plans to use the $1,000 award to help create a free legal aid program for refugees. It will give refugees free legal help and offer classes to acquaint newcomers to how U.S. laws work and what their rights are.

“There are a lot of things people from a different culture don’t understand and what we’re hoping to do is smooth their transition into the American and Idaho societies,” says Jones.

The Humanities Council will toast, and roast, Jones Thursday as he receives their award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities.”

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