Baker nominee drops bid for district court judgeship

Political News

BOSTON (SHNS) – At the eleventh hour of her journey toward a judgeship, the president of the Hampshire County Bar Association asked Gov. Charlie Baker to pull her name from nomination and said she wanted to prioritize family matters over the bench.

Lisa Lippiello, a Northampton-based defense attorney and former New York City police officer, was nominated last month to a seat on the District Court. But one day before her public interview with the Governor’s Council, she requested that her nomination be nixed and told the News Service that she could not discuss her reasoning without breaching her family’s trust.

“I think, in terms of really kind of responding to this right now, it was just a decision where I had to put my family and my kids ahead of the nomination. You know, ahead of being confirmed. That’s all,” said Lippiello.

“I have to take into consideration, you know, as a family we had a discussion around it, and I feel like I would, you know, I don’t want to breach that trust that I have with them,” she said.

The withdrawal seemed abrupt on Wednesday, the day Lippiello was supposed to come before the Governor’s Council. She appeared to have already gone through the private one-on-one interviews with councilors which routinely take place in the weeks leading up to the public hearing.

In her May 11 letter to Baker, she wrote that she would “always remember the many wonderful conversations I had with various Councilors. I am very grateful for the time they took to get to know me, and I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them as well.”

Councilors Terry Kennedy and Christopher Iannella both told the News Service on Wednesday afternoon that they had recently learned about Lippiello’s withdrawal and had not been informed of any reason behind the move.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who presides over council meetings, responded to the News Service in a State House hallway: “Oh, I don’t know about that,” she said of the withdrawal.

Asked directly why Lippiello’s nomination was withdrawn, Polito silently proceeded into the council’s temporary meeting space in the Great Hall without responding further.

Lippiello did not recall how long ago she first applied for the judgeship, and would not comment on what might have changed since that time to affect her decision.

A partner since 2017 in Northampton firm Olin Lippiello LLP, she was previously a public defender from 2007-2010. She also worked as a partner in Burrows, Weiss, Mintz & Lippiello LLP, and was a sole practitioner for three years.

She was a New York City police officer for 14 years, according to her resume, rising to the rank of lieutenant before she left the force one month after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In a 2016 profile interview with MassLive, she said she left New York shortly thereafter because she wanted to raise her daughter elsewhere.

She clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Neiman while attending Western New England College School of Law and earned her juris doctor in 2006.

Offering a “heartfelt thank you, and warmest regards” to the governor in her letter on Tuesday, Lippiello said that the “highlight of this process” was getting to meet Baker and Polito.

“I will cherish that time we met and the views we shared relevant to the District Court. That memory alone has made this process worth it,” she wrote.

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