Attorney Michael Filipovic has been appointed as the federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 9th Circuit’s Chief Judge Alex Kozinski made the announcement this morning.
Filipovic, 61, replaces Tom Hillier, who had held the position for an unprecedented 28 years before retiring last week. Filipovic served as Hillier’s first assistant since 2004 and has been a lawyer in the Seattle defender’s office for much of his 35-year career.
“We are very pleased to have Mr. Filipovic head the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington … No one is better prepared to assume this important leadership post,” Kozinski said in a prepared statement.
Filipovic was sworn in by Chief Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle on Tuesday.
Filipovic has worked as a federal defender since 1990. Before that, he worked at the Public Defender Association in King County. He is a native of Chicago and received his B.A. in criminal justice administration. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1974 and received his J.D. from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, in 1977.
In 2010, he was named Outstanding Assistant Federal Public Defender by the National Association of Federal Public Defenders.
Filopvic routinely handles high-profile cases in the office, and along with Hillier and former defender Jo Ann Oliver represented convicted Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam during his 2001 trial.
The Office of the Federal Defender for the Western District of Washington handled 1,411 cases in fiscal year 2013. It employs 13 lawyers in Seattle and Tacoma, along with support staff, on an annual budget of about $10 million.