Portrait of Circuit Judge Curtis E. Chillingworth.

Portrait of Circuit Judge Curtis E. Chillingworth.

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/46993
(please include photographer's name when noted).


  • Portrait of Circuit Judge Curtis E. Chillingworth.

Image Number

  • SC00026


  • 19--

Series Title

    Biography Note

  • Curtis Eugene Chillingworth, born October 24, 1896, was a Florida attorney and state judge. Graduated at the head of his class from law school at the University of Florida. At age 21 he enlisted in the Naval Reserve at Key West during World War I. He served a year and a half in the Navy then resumed his legal career. In 1920, at the age of 24, he was elected County Judge of Palm Beach County, becoming at the time the youngest judge in the history of the state. Following election in 1922, he became a Circuit Judge in 1923, a position he held for 32 years until his death in 1955. During his time as a circuit judge he authored seventeen majority opinions from 1926 to 1938. In 1942 at the age of 48, he was recalled to active duty in the Navy where he participated in planning for the invasion of Europe and the occupation of Germany. In 1945 Judge Chillingworth was released from active duty with the rank of full Commander.

  • Biography Note

  • He substituted for Supreme Court Justice Harold Sebring from April 7 to May 2, 1947 after Justice Sebring was appointed by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to the U.S. Military War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. Sebring requested, and was granted, a leave of absence for a period of up to one year. During his absence a number of Circuit Court Judges were called to the Supreme Court to sit in his place, render opinions and vote as a full member of the Court during the time they were called. This was before the creation of the District Courts of Appeal. They were given the title of "Associate Justice". Judge Curtis E. Chillingworth authored six majority opinions as an associate justice and in April 1947 he authored one specially concurring opinion.

  • Biography Note

  • On June 15, 1955 Curtis Chillingworth was abducted from his home at Manalapan, Florida and was later murdered along with his wife, Marjorie Chillingworth. West Palm Beach municipal court judge Joseph Alexander Peel Jr. was later convicted of hiring felon Floyd "Lucky" Hotzapfel and George "Bobby" Lincoln, a bolita and moonshine operator, to commit the crime.

Physical Description

  • 1 digital image - b&w

Subject Term

Geographic Term

Personal Subject

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