District Attorney Summer Stephan has devoted her life to protecting children and families and providing justice to the voiceless and most vulnerable. She is a national leader in the fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking, who has served as a prosecutor with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for 29 years. During this time, Summer combined extensive courtroom experience with over 15 years of management and leadership 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. On June 5, 2018, San Diego County voters overwhelmingly elected Summer as District Attorney.
As District Attorney, Summer leads the second largest DA’s Office in California, managing a professional staff of 1,000 employees, serving as the People’s Prosecutor for all of San Diego County and its over three million residents, which are spread throughout cities and communities from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Riverside County line. Summer uses her nearly three decades of experience to set public safety priorities and to leverage, partner and collaborate with law enforcement and the 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 cases of 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, which includes having been 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 serves as a Vice President for the National District Attorneys Association and is the Chair for their Human Trafficking subcommittee. 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 also lead a coordinated effort to protect the community with a school threats multi-disciplinary task force and a unified protocol with all 42 school districts in San Diego County.
Summer is a leader in advancing public safety through fair and equal criminal justice. She brings solutions to complex issues with a unique data-driven and common sense approach that goes beyond a one-size-fits-all mentality. In addition, she began an effective first ever Veterans Treatment model in North County with Deputy DA George Loyd, a heroic Marine Corps veteran.
Summer is the recipient of numerous local, state and federal 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 an “Angel of Anti-Human Trafficking” and a “Modern Day Abolitionist”. She has been named the 2017 Southern California District Attorney of the Year by Crime Victims United, a recipient of the Lifetime Legacy Award by Connected Women of Influence, selected for the Pathbreaker Award by Shared Hope International, and in recently received the 2019 Humane Award for her work in fighting animal cruelty.
Summer 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.