Donald Jonz | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About Donald Jonz

Former Judge
Donald Jonz


"By legalizing drugs, we will end the racial disparity in adverse consequences of drug use and drug enforcement."

Donald Jonz
Donald Wheeler Jonz was born in Orlando, FL. He attended the public schools of Orlando and a succession of private schools in Florida and North Carolina. After completing the 11th grade, he was admitted to Morehouse College based on an early-admissions test. After graduating Morehouse, he entered the Howard University School of Law, where he wrote for and was business manager of the Howard University Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Orlando and began practicing law. After a few years, his military reserve unit was activated, causing the disruption of his practice.

Following his six-month stint, he relocated to Miami, practicing law there for seven years. He was then appointed municipal judge, which made him the first judge of color to sit on an integrated court in the South. He'd been on the bench for a year, when the Community Relations Service of the United States Department of Justice recruited him. He became the first permanent regional director of the Southeast region of the Community Relations Service (which was based in Atlanta), serving in that capacity for a year-and-a-half. The CRS provided liaison between the Department of Justice and local communities throughout the South in order to lessen or avoid potential violence as citizens sought to exercise their rights to protest various "racial conditions" in their communities. The agency also worked to ameliorate the causes of "racial tensions" by working with community groups that were attempting to change said conditions. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to deputy director of the CRS in Washington, DC, and held this position for five years.

Wanting to get back to mainstream legal matters, he took the position of deputy director for the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, which was then the premier public-defender service of the nation. After two years, he decided to return to private practice. He practiced in the DC courts and the federal court of Maryland until his desire to return to Florida became so strong that in 1998 he became dean of students and associate professor of law at the Florida Coastal School of Law. He held that position until he retired in 2010.

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