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JUNE 2017 - Judge Hillman
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Remembering Judge Stephen J. Hillman

                                       by:Jessica Kronstadt, WLALA Communications Officer

Retired Chief Magistrate Judge Emeritus Stephen J. Hillman passed away on Monday, June 5, 2017.  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.  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.[1] 

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.

Judge Hillman always made himself available to young lawyers.  He was so approachable, kind and humble.  Judge Hillman was always enthusiastic about mentoring young lawyers, and helping them explore different career paths.  My husband and I decided not to find out the gender of either our children before they were born.  Both times I was pregnant, Judge Hillman accurately predicted that I would have a girl.  After learning that my first child – Caroline – was a girl, Judge Hillman emailed me: “Yay!!!  I knew it was!!  All good wishes to you and your family!”  I still smile when I read that message.  Shortly after receiving the birth announcement for my daughter Catherine, Judge Hillman wrote to me: “Thanks for the great news. Our daughter was married on the same day as Catherine was born! And raising two daughters is something I treasure.”  I will always treasure this message. 

Father’s Day will be here soon.  When I celebrate my dad and my husband on June 18, I will also celebrate Judge Hillman.  Judge Hillman’s devotion to his daughters, and his excitement about the births of mine demonstrate what an incredible man he was.  Thank you, Judge Hillman.  Thank you for your devotion to public service, for your devotion to the court, for your devotion to mentoring young people, and for your devotion to your family.  I treasure our friendship, and I miss you.


Jessica Kronstadt is the WLALA Communications Officer.  

[1] The following information was provided in a Press Release issued on June 8, 2017 by the Central District of California regarding “Passing of the Honorable Stephen J. Hillman.” (