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Federal Judge Dies After Giving Speech to California State Bar Function

52 year old US District Court Judge Beverly O'Connell developed mysterious illness after speech to #CalBar


October 16, 2017


Incoming President Stacy Horth-Neubert introduced and sworn in by Hon. Beverly Reid O'Connell. 9/13/17

Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell was appointed Federal Judge in 2013. She died Sunday October 8th, 3 weeks after she mysteriously collapsed while speaking to a California State Bar section.

The press release does not state the cause of death. She was just 52, and collapsed at a California State Bar Women's program on Friday September 15. The program was called "So You Want to Be a Judge?" and was co-sponsored by the State Bar and California Women Lawyers. She may have suffered a brain aneurism.

On September 22nd, Adam Winkler tweeted "Thoughts & prayers to 52-year-old fed judge Beverly Reid O'Connell, who is in a coma from apparent brain hemorrhage." As recently as September 13th, she was still issuing rulings. USDC Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell Grants Laguna Beach Police Excessive Force Immunity

Here's the press release from the District Court:

Chief Judge Virginia A. Phillips announced the passing of District Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell on October 8, 2017. Judge O'Connell was 52 years old.

Judge O'Connell received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Juris Doctorate, Magna cum Laude, in 1990, from Pepperdine University School of Law. Following law school, she practiced at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster from 1990 until 1995. She then joined the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the criminal division, where she served until 2005. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her to the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.

On November 14, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Judge O'Connell to be a United States District Judge for the Central District of California. She was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on April 15, 2013 and received her commission on April 30, 2013. She was well known for her service to the legal community, regularly teaching courses at Loyola Law School, Pepperdine University School of Law, and the B.E. Witkin Judicial College, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.

Upon learning of Judge O'Connell's death, Chief Judge Phillips said the following: "Mere words are inadequate to express the depth of our loss. Judge O'Connell justly earned her reputation as a brilliant and exceptionally hard working judge. Those who appeared before her appreciated her wisdom and fairness, as well as her innovative use of technology in the courtroom. Her judicial colleagues and all members of the court family were vastly enriched by her generosity, energy and dedication to justice. She made an indelible mark on our court, and we mourn our friend and colleague."

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


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