Luther Jones, the former El Paso political leader who served a federal prison sentence on corruption charges, has dropped his lawsuit seeking to reclaim his law license.
Jones, now 77 and living in Houston, had filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court in July against the State Bar of Texas, seeking to regain the law license that was stripped when he was disbarred in 2013.
His attorney, Marc Zito, filed a “notice of nonsuit” on Monday, which ends the lawsuit. The motion doesn’t specify a reason for the action.
Jones said he didn’t want to speak again with El Paso Matters after a Sept. 6 story about his efforts to regain his law license. He did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
He said earlier that he wanted to regain his law license “because if I stop working, I start dying.” Even if he won his lawsuit against the State Bar – which opposed the reinstatement petition – Jones would have needed to pass the bar exam to regain his license.
Among those supporting Jones’ efforts to regain his law license were two former colleagues from his days in Texas House in the 1970s – state Rep. John Bryant, D-Dallas, and state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston. Whitmire currently is one of the leading candidates in the November election for Houston mayor.
District Judge Ursula Hall set a Sept. 30, 2024, trial date for Jones, which seemed to catch him by surprise.
“My attorney met personally with Judge and secured October 27th (2023) setting,” Jones said in a text message to El Paso Matters before saying he was ending further communication. He was referring to a hearing in the case planned for that date.
Jones served El Paso as a state legislator, county attorney and county judge in the 1970s and 1980s. After losing his re-election bid for county judge in 1990, he worked as an attorney and a political power broker.
He was among more than 30 people convicted following a sprawling FBI investigation into public corruption in El Paso that exploded into public view during a 2006 raid of the County Courthouse.
Jones was convicted in 2009 on conspiracy charges that alleged he bribed county officials to rig a bid in favor of his client. He pleaded guilty in 2010 to similar charges involving the Ysleta Independent School District.
He was sentenced to six years in federal prison. After his release in 2015, he moved to Houston, where he volunteered at a hospital and worked as an aide to Whitmire.