Ellen M. Heller

Judge Ellen M. Heller is a retired Judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City where she was appointed the Judge in Charge of the Civil Docket and ultimately the Circuit Administrative Judge overseeing the entire court—the first woman in Maryland to hold that position. She continues to sit in a Felony Drug Diversion program she created in 2003 which diverts non-violent substance abuse offenders to treatment and support services in lieu of incarceration. She is a mediator in the MD Court of Special Appeals Mediation Program and a member of the American Law Institute.


Before her appointment to the bench in 1986, Judge Heller had been an Assistant Attorney General in the Md. Office of the Attorney General and Deputy of the Educational Affairs Division, and the Principal Counsel for the Md. State Dept. of Education. She is an honors graduate of both the Johns Hopkins University and the U. of Md. School of Law. For almost a decade she taught as an Adjunct Professor at the Law School.


Judge Heller is the former President and Chair of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, an international relief organization operating in over 70 countries that has provided rescue, relief and renewal activities for communities in need since 1914. She remains an active member of its board. In addition, she has been the Chair and Trustee of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and currently is a member of the Board of Visitors of the U. of Md. School of Law, Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the Institute of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Studies, the Independent Lay Review Board of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, and the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. She has served on the Boards of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Her honors include the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame, the Maryland Law School’s Distinguished Graduate Award, The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award, and the Maryland State Bar’s Civility Award. She and her husband, Shale D. Stiller, each received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2011 and Honorary Doctorates from the Johns Hopkins University in 2016.