Passing of the Honorable Stephen J. Hillman

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The United States District Court, Central District of California, mourns the loss of retired Chief Magistrate Judge Emeritus Stephen J. Hillman, who passed away on Monday, June 5, 2017 at the age of 67.

Judge Hillman was appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District of California on July 16, 1992 and sat in the Court’s Western Division in Los Angeles until his retirement on April 10, 2015. Judge Hillman served as Chief Magistrate Judge from 2007 to 2011.

Prior to his appointment to the Court, Judge Hillman practiced as a Deputy Federal Public Defender in the Central District, rising to Chief Deputy Federal Public Defender.  During his time in the Federal Public Defender’s Office, he trained and supervised other deputy public defenders, for whom he was a beloved and respected mentor.  He also worked in private practice, representing clients in civil and criminal matters in both state and federal court in Los Angeles and Seattle.

His record of service included his work on the Ninth Circuit Magistrate Judges Executive Board, as well as his appointments as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, teaching Trial Advocacy, and at Southwestern University School of Law, teaching Professional Responsibility.

Judge Hillman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1975.

Upon learning of Judge Hillman’s death, Chief Judge Phillips said the following:  “During his career in the Federal Public Defender’s Office, Steve Hillman earned the respect and affection of his colleagues and adversaries alike, as well as his reputation with the Judges of the District as a dedicated and effective lawyer with the utmost integrity.  When appointed to the bench, Judge Hillman was known as a model of diligence, intelligence, compassion and fairness.  His death is a wrenching blow to so many, including his judicial colleagues, his friends in the bar, his long-serving court staff, and all the members of the federal court family.  We join in extending our profound sympathy to his bereft family.”

Judge Hillman is survived by his wife Lisa; daughters Alison (Sam Derse) and Lauren; mother June, and brother John (Leta).

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