Liberal Austin Democrats: Getting to Know the Candidates

I had a lot of fun talking with Liberal Austin Democrats and sharing my thoughts. Here is the interview in full. 

LAD has asked our local Democratic candidates to answer a few questions for us before our Candidate Meet & Greet this Thursday at Joe’s Crab Shack from 6:30 – 9pm.

Meet Judge Lipscombe.


Judge Lipscombe is running for County Court at Law #3.

LAD: What are the responsibilities of the office you are running for?

Lispcombe: Generally speaking, all our county courts at law in Travis County have both criminal and civil jurisdiction. My court, County Court at Law # 3, has a criminal case docket. I hear all the evidence, including witness testimony and exhibits, and render a verdict of guilty or not guilty. In a jury trial, I am more in the role of referee between the State and Defense Attorneys as they present witnesses and other, physical evidence. I will rule on objections by either side, rule on what information or testimony is admissible into evidence, and will read the charge concerning the law in the case to the jury before each side gives final argument and the jury goes off to the jury room for deliberations. In addition to pre-trial and trial docket responsibilities, I also set bonds and bond conditions for defendants in jail. Administratively, there are always rounds of meetings to attend, groups and school classes to interact with, and of course, the most pleasant part of my job – performing marriage ceremonies. My wife and I donate free wedding ceremonies each Valentine’s Day to dozens of couples! I love my job. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and of Texas, to ensure an even playing field for each person who comes before me, and to protect the Presumption of Innocence in which all persons who are charged with a crime are supposed to be cloaked. It is my responsibility, ethically, procedurally and by law, to see that justice is done. I have, do and always will take that awesome responsibility very seriously.

LAD: What new ideas are you bringing to the table?

Lipscombe: I have put into practice my philosophy of putting rehabilitation before punitive incarceration. I have instituted an evening court docket to allow more one-on-one time with youthful offenders and to provide a venue for both working parents and school aged kids to take care of court business without missing school or losing hard earned money. I have also taken steps to streamline certain procedures. Still tinkering!

LAD: What experience are you bringing to the position?

Lipscombe: Almost 30 years of Criminal Law experience as a law clerk, appellate attorney at the Court of Criminal Appeals, Trial Court Chief/prosecutor, and judge. I also use my life experiences of growing up in an oil field family, knocking around as a kid with questionable choices of friends and attendant legal problems, truck driving, bus driving, working two jobs while going to school, a 14 year failed marriage and a second chance with Jan ( 22 + years and going strong!), Union member, teacher, mentor, ethical judge.

LAD: What is your favorite local restaurant?

Lispcombe: El Patio. Great sauce and my family members have been going there for more than 5 decades.

LAD: What is your favorite song or movie?

Lipscombe: Favorite Songs
Gospel: Amazing Grace;
Whimsey: Puff the Magic Dragon;
And the winner is: Almost everything by the Beatles.

You can ask Judge Lipscombe your own questions at our Candidate Meet & Greet this Thursday, Jan. 23rd at Joe’s Crab Shack from 6:30 – 9pm.