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Passing of the Honorable J. Spencer Letts

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PRESS RELEASE: November 14, 2014

Chief Judge George H. King announced that Senior District Judge J. Spencer Letts passed away on Monday, November 10, 2014. Judge Letts was born on December 19, 1934 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Judge Letts received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1956, and his LL.B from Harvard Law School in 1960. He was in private practice in Houston, Texas from 1960 to 1966. Judge Letts was Vice President and General Counsel for Teledyne, Inc. in Los Angeles, California from 1966 to 1973, and again from 1975 to 1978. He was in private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1973 to 1975, and from 1978 to 1985. Judge Letts also served as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve from 1956 to 1965.

Judge Letts was nominated to be a United States District Judge for the Central District of California by President Ronald Reagan on November 7, 1985, and received his commission on December 17, 1985. He maintained chambers in the United States Courthouse on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. The judge took senior status on December 19, 2000.

Upon hearing of Judge Letts's death, Chief Judge George H. King said the following:

Judge Letts was a true gentleman and a wonderful colleague. He treated everyone with dignity and respect, and took a keen interest in restoring defendants in criminal cases to productive and law-abiding lives within the community. He presided with a sharp mind and a compassionate heart. We will all miss him very much."

Judge Letts's family plans to have a memorial service in January, 2015.

In honor of Judge Letts, the flags outside the courthouses of the United States District Court for the Central District of California will be flown at half mast.

Terry Nafisi
District Court Executive and Clerk of Court