About Summer Stephan
District Attorney Summer Stephan has devoted her life to protecting children and families and giving a voice for justice to the voiceless and most vulnerable. She is a national leader in the fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Summer served as a Deputy District Attorney in San Diego County for 28 years where she combined extensive courtroom experience with over 15 years of management experience. She rose through the ranks to appointments as Chief of the DA’s North County Branch and Chief of the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division, a Special Victims Unit she pioneered. In 2012, she was appointed Chief Deputy District Attorney. In 2017, she was appointed District Attorney.
District Attorney Stephan leads the second largest DA’s Office in California, manages a professional staff of over 1000 employees, and serves as the People’s Prosecutor for the entire San Diego County and its over 3 Million residents. The DA uses her almost 3 decades of experience to set public safety priorities and to leverage, partner and collaborate with Sheriff, Police, and community to maintain San Diego County as one of the safest urban regions in the United States.
As a trial prosecutor, Summer tried more than 100 jury trials, including complex homicides, sexually violent predators, child molestation, sexual assault, school shooting, and human trafficking-related cases.
Summer holds leadership positions in public safety on the national state and local level. She served as Chair of the County of San Diego Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Advisory Council. Summer chairs the Women Prosecutors of the National District Attorneys Association, Human Trafficking Committee. Summer chairs the Task Force on Threats of Targeted Violence to our schools and community. Summer was selected as one of only two prosecutors in California to serve on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Task Force for High-Risk Sex Offenders and Sexually-Violent Predators.
Summer is a leader in advancing public safety through a smart, fair and equal criminal justice. She brings solutions to complex issues through her unique data driven, and common sense approach that is not a one size fits all, but rather leverages innovations in crime prevention and restorative justice practices that invest in building healthy lives and communities particularly for juvenile and non-violent offenders with mental health and addiction issues. She spearheaded the innovative “Know the Price” campaign, which focused on reducing sexual assaults of college students. She also led the award-winning “The Ugly Truth” Human Trafficking Campaign. Summer began the first Veterans Treatment Court in North County with DDA George Loyd, a heroic Marine Corps veteran. She was part of the leadership team that diverted more youthful offenders into positive programs instead of pipelines to prison dramatically lowering the incarceration rate for juvenile offenders. Summer helped implement and expand smart on crime programs that address the underlying causes of criminality and reduce recidivism to create win-win solutions.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including an FBI commendation for organized crime prosecution, the Outstanding Achievement award for the complex prosecution involving the sexual assault and murder of an elderly woman. She was named “Angel of Anti-Human Trafficking” and “Modern Day Abolitionist”. She received a commendation by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer as Commission Partner for creating positive change in the community. San Diegans Against Crime recognized her efforts with the 2016 Public Safety Leadership Award, the “Spirit of the Community” Junior League award and the prestigious 2016 “Voices for Justice” award by the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice. This year, she received the Lifetime Legacy Award by Women of Influence and the Community Impact award by North County Lifeline.
She is an instructor and trainer including the National District Attorneys Association Executive Management Course: “How to go from Boss to Leader”. She has also testified as an expert in public safety before the State Legislature. DA Stephan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis and her Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She completed the “Driving Government Performance” Executive Education Course at the Harvard, Kennedy School of Government.