(Note: this bio was current at the time of website publication. For the most up-to-date biography for this individual, please consult Linkedin.) Judge Steve Leifman is an Associate Administrative Judge of the Miami-Dade County Court. He previously served as Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida and currently chairs the Florida Supreme Courts’ Steering Committee on Problem Solving Courts.
Judge Leifman is the co-chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Mental Health Committee and co-chair of the Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative. He serves on the Florida Drug Policy Advisory Council and The National Institute on Drug Addiction’s (NIDA) Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network. Judge Leifman is a member of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Voluntary Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Judge Leifman was appointed to serve on the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness and the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) established by the 21st Century Cures Act.
In 2015, Judge Leifman received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. One of the nation’s highest judicial honors presented by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Judge Leifman is also the first recipient to receive the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence (2015). He was named a 2016 Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year. More recently, Judge Leifman was awarded the 2020 Dade County Bar Association (DCBA) David W. Dyer Professionalism Award, the 2018 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, the 2019 Yale-NAMI Mental Health Advocacy Award and a 2019 Presidential Commendation by the American Psychiatric Association.
Judge Leifman has been featured in many national and local television programs, radio programs, and articles regarding mental health and the criminal justice system. Judge Leifman is the subject of the Documentary, The Definition of Insanity which aired nationally on PBS on April 14, 2020. His most recent co-authored article on mental health and criminal justice was published in The Atlantic on May 30, 2022.