Longtime judge Rogelio Flores to retire from the bench after 31 years

Judge Rogelio Flores, shown in his Lompoc Superior courtroom in 2018, recently joined the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse board of directors. 

Retired Superior Court Judge Rogelio Flores recently joined the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse board of directors and will help the organization expand outreach services for people overcoming substance abuse. 

Flores will assist the council as it works to provide addiction recovery services to individuals throughout the county, according to Executive Director Scott Whiteley. The nonprofit started in 1949 and opened a Santa Maria office in 1984.

“CADA is committed to growing its presence in North County, and Judge Flores will be instrumental in helping us with our community outreach," Whiteley said. "His familiarity with local issues and firsthand insights into the devastating effects of unresolved substance abuse will be invaluable in helping CADA continue providing services that build healthier lives, stronger families and a more vibrant community.”

Born in 1953, Flores moved to the Nipomo Mesa with his family in 1961. After graduating with a law degree in 1979 and working two years as a Los Angeles legal aid attorney, Flores returned to the Santa Maria area to start a private practice focused on underserved clients, according to Whiteley. 

Flores was appointed first court commissioner for the North Santa Barbara County Municipal Court in 1987 and appointed to its bench in 1997. Serving for 31 years, Flores retired in 2018. His experience includes presiding over hundreds of cases that involve mental health, domestic violence and substance abuse issues.

In 2011, Flores started Santa Maria's Veterans Treatment Court, followed by Lompoc's in 2016, and considers the program a "crown jewel" of his career. 

"CADA's underlying strength is serving young people," Flores said. “There are many competing forces trying to tear them apart. If there is any silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that it has exposed tremendous service disparity in communities across our country."