Stiehl was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a newly created seat at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in 1986, upon the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Charles Percy.
He served as chief judge of the Southern District from 1992-1993 before assuming senior status on Nov. 30, 1996. Stiehl was succeeded by Patrick G. Murphy in 1998.
A Belleville native, Stiehl served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant during World War II. He obtained his law degree from St. Louis University School of Law after the war and then was recalled to duty during the Korean War.
Stiehl was in private practice in Belleville from 1952 to 1986, including a stint as an assistant state’s attorney. He was a special assistant Illinois attorney general from 1970 to 1973.
Among the many cases Stiehl presided over at the Southern District of Illinois was the prosecution of former Madison County attorney Gary Peel on bankruptcy fraud and child pornography charges.
Stiehl held trial in 2007, and jurors convicted Peel on all counts.
Stiehl imposed a sentence of 12 years for obstruction of justice, with lesser terms to run concurrently on the other crimes.
Peel moved for a new trial, and Stiehl denied it.