Steve Lipson Retiring
updated: Mar 03, 2017, 1:35 PM
Source: The County Executive Office
Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers announced today that Ventura County Public Defender Steve Lipson will be retiring on June 16, 2017 after 31 years of service to the County. Lipson began his service to the County in September of 1986 as a trial attorney in the Public Defender's office. He spent the next 20 years defending criminal cases ranging from misdemeanor drunk driving to felony capital murder. In 2006, he became a Chief Deputy and supervised more than 20 attorneys in the office's largest division. He was promoted to Assistant Public Defender two years later and, in 2010, was appointed as the Chief Public Defender by the Board of Supervisors.
"Ventura County is fortunate to have had Steve Lipson on the defense side of the courtroom for more than three decades," said Powers. "He is driven by a passion for justice and an unwavering respect for human dignity. This was always evident in court, but also in his work outside of the courtroom."
Since he became the Public Defender, Lipson has worked with the CEO's office and other County agencies to expand the number of clients the Public Defender's office can assist, focusing on those with mental illness and drug addiction issues. Working with the other agencies involved with the administration of justice on the Community Corrections Partnership, Lipson worked collaboratively to ease jail overcrowding, lower recidivism and enhance public safety. "I believe people are better than the worst thing they have ever done," said Lipson. "So I've worked with the Community Intervention Court to help the chronically mentally ill and homeless populations be treated more fairly in court, and I have used modern practices to deal with the unfairness of the cash bail system."
Lipson currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Legal Aid and Defender's Association. The association is devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. He is also the president of the American Council of Chief Defenders, a national organization dedicated to securing a fair justice system.
"County government has the responsibility to serve the underserved," said Powers. "We are grateful for all Steve has done to level the playing field of the justice system in Ventura County. There is no doubt that his work has changed lives. We are also appreciative of the generous lead- time he provided us on his plans, which will allow the County ample time to conduct a comprehensive search for his successor."
The County Executive Office will begin recruiting a replacement for Lipson in the near future.