In his usual eloquent and subdued manner, Detroit’s 36th District Court Judge Willie G. Lipscomb, Jr. spent his last days on the bench listening to an array of criminal cases. The only thing different was that he was preparing himself to leave the courtroom for a new and challenging career. He notes that he has enjoyed nearly 30 years of what he calls the rare privilege of presiding over some of the most serious criminal cases, prosecuted by the best prosecutors in the country, and defended by the best criminal bar anywhere.
“I am retiring at this time to complete and promote my first novel (a fictional work about a mythical African king who attempts to curb the spread of slavery) and explore other endeavors. I believe that my most significant and lasting accomplishment while on the bench is the founding and administration of the Handgun Intervention Program,” the retiring judge said.
Lipscomb is known across the United States for commitment to The Handgun Intervention Program (HIP) which was the first of its kind court administered program, which started in 1993. For almost two decades, Lipscomb has dedicated his Saturday mornings to conducting intense workshops and classes with defendants, as a condition of their bonds.
These defendants, who have been charged with gun crimes, have benefited greatly from their involvement with HIP, according to Judge Lipscomb. His relentless dedication to this cause has earned him numerous honors and awards including Michiganian of the Year, and The University of Notre Dame Alumni of the Year Award.
“The program has helped to educate citizens about the senseless violence that too often results from the possession of handguns. Although I have retired from the court as a sitting judge, I intend to continue with my involvement in this program and others, aimed at improving the quality of life in The City of Detroit,” Lipscomb said.
Judge Lipscomb is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and has served as an adjunct professon of criminal law for 30 years at Wayne County Community College District. He resides in Detroit and is the father of one adult daughter and has two grandsons.