Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, September 17, 2001


Page 3


Public Memorial Service Slated For Senior U.S. District Judge Albert Lee Stephens Jr.


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The U.S. District Court of the Central District of California will hold a public memorial ceremony Thursday for Senior Judge Albert Lee Stephens Jr. at the federal courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall said Friday.

An exact time has not yet been set, but it is expected that the ceremony will take sometime in the afternoon, Marshall said.

Stephens died Sept. 5 after suffering cardiac arrest while on his annual fly fishing trip to Alpers Owens Rivers Ranch in the eastern Sierra with some of his former law clerks and other friends. He was 88.

“Al passed away doing something he loved, being with his former law clerks and friends, outdoors and fly fishing,” Senior Judge Wm. Matthew Byrne Jr. said.

Colleagues said Stephens had been in poor health for the past three years, but remembered him as being a judge whom lawyers loved to appear in front of.

“He was really a fine judge who was held in high regard by both his colleagues and the lawyers who practiced before him,” Byrne said.

“He was a wonderful person,” Marshall said. “He was a role model for other judges.”

Stephens was the son of Albert Lee Stephens Sr., who also was a district court judge in Los Angeles. The elder Stephens was appointed a circuit judge in 1937 and served as chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Albert Lee Stephens Jr.’s brother, the late Clarke Stephens, sat on Div. Five of this district’s Court of Appeal.

Born Feb. 19, 1913 in Los Angeles, Albert Lee Stephens Jr. graduated in 1938 from the University of Southern California Law Center.

After graduation, Stephens turned to private practice for the next 20 years, with the exception of the four years he spent serving as a Naval Reserve officer during World War II. He continued to work as an attorney while in the service, supervising land acquisitions for the Navy’s Bureau of Land and Docks.

Stephens was appointed a district judge for the Central District in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, and served as chief judge of the district from 1970 to 1979.

He took senior status at the court in 1979.

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Stephens sat on the Los Angeles Superior Court, a post he was named to by then-Gov. Edmund G. Brown Sr. in 1959.

Stephens also sat on assignment on the Ninth Circuit.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, two daughters, Virginia Stephens Newton and Marylee Stephens Thomason; and five grandchildren, including Berkeley lawyer Dawn Newton.

Funeral services were to be held Saturday Sept. 15 at the Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company