Law in Popular Culture

Law-prof-turned-TV-judge dies at the age of 92; his on-air career began in 1958

Edgar Allan Jones Jr., a UCLA law professor who moonlighted as a television judge, has died at the age of 92.

Jones presided over mock television court cases for six years beginning in 1958, the Los Angeles Times reports. His on-air career was launched with a call from a producer looking for someone knowledgeable about the law. Jones got the job, though his previous acting experience consisted of a walk-on part in a high school play.

Jones started on KABC-TV’s Traffic Court, and then gained roles on the ABC network, first as a judge on the daytime show Day in Court and the prime-time show Accused. Day in Court was once daytime TV’s top-ranked show until it was overtaken by General Hospital.

All the cases on Jones’ shows were based on real cases argued by lawyers, though actors usually portrayed the defendants. “Many cases were chosen for their amusing twists,” the story says, “such as one involving a physics teacher who was cited for driving with his feet because he needed his hands to hold on to a kite he was using in a wind experiment.”

Jones taught at UCLA law school from 1951 to 1991.

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