Many in our community know Steve Wolfson as our District Attorney, a role he’s held in Clark County for the past decade. But what many don’t know is that Steve Wolfson has spent over 40 years of his life, actively involved in our legal community, going back to the beginning in 1980 as a Deputy District Attorney, ironically in the same office he now leads. After starting his career in the D.A.’s office, Wolfson then served as a Federal Prosecutor. In 1987, he entered the private sector where he practiced criminal defense for 25 years. Today, Steve Wolfson leads the Clark County District Attorney’s office, the largest and busiest law firm in the state of Nevada. Wolfson manages a $65 million budget and over 700 employees, including 170 attorneys, in four different divisions who, combined, handle hundreds of thousands of cases annually.
TOUGH ON VIOLENT AND REPEAT OFFENDERS
Public safety has been, and always will be, the top priority of District Attorney Steve Wolfson. Steve has re-defined and re-prioritized how his office prosecutes those who break the law. Wolfson emphasizes tough penalties for violent offenders and repeat offenders. He has created specialized units, including a homicide team, a gun crimes team, gang team and specialized teams that focus on DUI offenders and domestic violence offenders. At the same time Wolfson created diversion programs for low level/non-violent offenders – addressing underlying issues and offering them an opportunity to get their life on the right track.
21st CENTURY PROSECUTOR
As a “21st Century Prosecutor,” Wolfson has also worked diligently to bring true reform to the justice system. He created several programs, which he refers to as “Smart Reform” to address areas in which the criminal justice system needed improvements. Programs such as Project Redirect and Hope for Second Chances have been successful and continue to provide an opportunity for offenders to get services they need and avoid jail by participating in diversion programs aimed at addressing the underlying issues associated with criminal activity.
Mr. Wolfson is proud of the reforms implemented by the Clark County District Attorney’s office during his 10 years.
He created the first Conviction Review Unit in Nevada, which re-examines convictions where new evidence of actual innocence has surfaced. This resulted in the release of a wrongfully convicted person who served 22 years in prison for murder. Wolfson hired a career Public Defender to lead the conviction review unit. One of Mr. Wolfson’s proudest accomplishments is the creation of Hope for Second Chances (HSC). This program is modeled after the nationally recognized Hope for Prisoners model (HFP), a prisoner re-entry program. It’s the first program of its kind in the country, offering the services of a reentry program to defendants on the front end of their case. By successfully completing this program, offenders can receive the help they need, rather than being sent to prison.
Then there is Project Redirect, which is a pre-charge diversion program. Another first of its kind program in Nevada. This program provides assessment and social services to low-level, non-violent, offenders. Offenders are given the opportunity to avoid having criminal charges filed against them if they successfully complete their individualized treatment plan.
Steve Wolfson is a founding member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). CJCC was created to introduce reform and best practices to the local criminal justice community. CJCC created the Initial Arraignment Court (IA Court). IA Court ensures that a person accused of a crime will appear in court within 8 to 20 hours of their arrest, eliminating a situation where they may sit in jail for many days waiting to be seen by a judge. The D.A.’s from Wolfson’s office participate in efforts to release low-risk offenders without the need to post cash bail, thus reducing the number of people being held in jail simply because they are financially unable to afford bail.
HOW IT STARTED
The Clark County Board of Commissioners appointed Wolfson on Jan. 24, 2012. He was chosen to serve out the 3 remaining years on a 4-year term vacated by the former District Attorney David Roger, who retired Jan. 3, 2012. Wolfson came to the county from the city of Las Vegas where he served almost 8 years as a city councilman. Wolfson resigned from his city council position to become the Clark County DA.
Wolfson was born in Los Angeles, California. He received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from San Diego State University and a Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law. Wolfson has been married for 37 years to former District Court Judge Jackie Glass (ret.). They have two grown daughters, Rachel and Rebecca.
Wolfson has been active with the State Bar of Nevada by serving on the Board of Governors, the Judicial Ethics and Campaign Election Practices Committee, and other bar-related committees. Additionally, Wolfson was chairman of the State Bar of Nevada Ethics 2000 Committee, a blue-ribbon committee established by the Nevada Supreme Court, to review and bring up to date all Supreme Court rules involving attorney conduct.
Steve Wolfson embraces new opportunities with his open-door policy and community outreach initiatives. As Las Vegas grows, the Clark County DA’s office will face new challenges. Now more than ever, we need the experience and leadership of Steve Wolfson to lead the District Attorney’s office. You can learn more about District Attorney Steve Wolfson by visiting his website at http://stevewolfsonda.com