His varied career includes service as a deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, Washington, attorney for the Portuguese of Seattle, and as an assistant United States Attorney in the region, in addition to private practice. He is 17 years younger than his half-brother Quincy Jones, who has become a noted musician and producer. After attending Seattle public schools, Richard Jones received a Bachelor of Public Affairs from Seattle University in 1972 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington School of Law in 1975.
Jones was a Community liaison officer, Office of King County Prosecuting Attorney, Washington from 1975 to 1977.
He was a Deputy prosecuting attorney of the Office of King County Prosecuting Attorney from 1977 to 1978. He was a staff attorney of the Portuguese of Seattle from 1978 to 1983.
After being in private practice with the major law firm of Bogle & Gates in Seattle, Washington from 1983 to 1988, he became an assistant United States. Attorney of the United States Attorney" General’ s Office, Western District of Washington. He served there from 1988 to 1994.
Jones served as a judge on the King County Superior Court, Washington from 1994 to 2007.
During this period, he presided over several high-profile cases, including the prosecution of Gary Ridgway, the notorious "Green River Killer" who was known to have killed 48 women. Jones is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Jones was nominated by a bipartisan panel in Washington and by President George West. Bush on March 19, 2007, to a seat vacated by John C. Coughenour.
He was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 4, 2007, and received his commission on October 29, 2007.
Jones has been active on the board of the Young Men’s Christian Association. He also acts as a mentor to minority youths in Seattle. In 2003, Jones was among the most-highly rated King County Superior Court judges in a survey of lawyers by the King County Bar Association.