Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Hippach takes the bench as first black judge in Santa Barbara County

Denise Hippach, the first black individual to be appointed as a judge in Santa Barbara County, has spoken about the significance of her appointment in a recent interview with the Santa Barbara News-Press. 

Hippach discussed her long journey to becoming a judge, including her difficulties with affording college, and her determination to pave the way for other young women of color. She explained the importance of her appointment, as it shows the strides being made to make the bench more reflective of the community it serves. 

Hippach has worked as a practicing attorney for almost 20 years and has found her transition to a fair-minded judge challenging yet rewarding. She is now handling criminal arraignments in Santa Maria, where her interaction with members of the public and community has shifted from dealing with opposing counsel to finding individualized solutions to address the problems of those involved in the criminal justice system. 

Hippach is honored to have been appointed judge and has vowed to serve the citizens of the county to the best of her ability with compassion, commitment, and understanding.

Key points:
  • Hippach grew up in Lancaster and had to rely on financial aid and scholarships to attend college and law school.
  • Before becoming a judge, Hippach worked as a practicing attorney, with experience in criminal, dependency, civil, and family law.
  • As a judge, Hippach is currently handling criminal arraignments in Santa Maria, which has required a big shift in mindset from her previous work as an advocate for individual clients.

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