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Judge Steven Leifman


From 2007 - 2010, Miami-Dade County Judge Steve Leifman served as Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida. In this capacity, Judge Leifman has been responsible for chairing the Court's Mental Health Subcommittee which authored a ground-breaking report entitled, Transforming Florida's Mental Health System. This report, which has received considerable state and national recognition, outlines recommendations with the goal of decreasing inappropriate and costly involvement of people with mental illnesses in the justice system.

In October, 2010, the Chief Justice of the of the Supreme Court of Florida appointed Judge Leifman to Chair the Florida Supreme Court's Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court.

Due to his expertise in the areas of criminal justice and mental health, Judge Leifman has been appointed to serve in a variety of capacities on local, state, and national bodies, including Co-Chair of the Council of State Governments/TAPA Center for Jail Diversion Judges' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Leadership Initiative, Co-Chair of the Miami-Dade County Mayor's Mental Health Task Force, Board of Directors of the American Psychiatric Foundation, member of the National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Services, member of the American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and a Voluntary Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami School of Medicine. In addition, Judge Leifman serves as Chair of the South Florida Behavioral Health Network and Finance Chair of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. He also serves as the Board Chair of Florida Partners in Crisis.

In recognition of his tireless efforts, Judge Leifman has received numerous awards and acknowledgements including; the 2011 Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle Award, the 2010 Florida International University (FIU) Cal Kovens Distinguished Community Service Medallion, the 2010 Leadership Florida Distinguished Member Award, the 2009 International Community Corrections Association (ICCA) Judicial Award, the 2009 Dade County Bar Association Sookie Williams Award, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2008 Distinguished Service Award (NAMI National's Highest Honor) and the 2008 Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Miami Chapter Honorable Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award.

Judge Leifman has also been featured in many national and local television and radio programs regarding mental health and the criminal justice system including, CNN: Special Investigations Unit, The Criminally Insane; PBS, Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness; CBS4, The Forgotten Floor and National Public Radio (NPR) All Things Considered.