I’m Jeff Leibo, and I’m running for City Court Judge. City Court is primarily a criminal court, and I am the only person in this race who has experience on every side of the criminal court system. After graduating from the Syracuse University College of Law, I began my career as a prosecutor in Ithaca, where I met with victims of crimes to understand the impact of crime on our community. I then returned to Syracuse to work as a defense attorney, aggressively defending those who had been accused of crimes. For the last seven years, I have served as an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. I preside over hearings, such as to determine whether police had probable cause for a stop or adequately warned a person of his or her rights, and my priority is always to make sure that those appearing before have an opportunity to be heard, and feel as though they have been treated fairly.
Before I became a judge, I worked at the Center for Community Alternatives, a local agency working to reform the criminal justice system and defend the accused. I trained lawyers across the state on how to defend people charged with drug crimes. I helped defense attorneys understand the reforms to the racist Rockefeller-era drug laws, and how to help their clients get treatment and a second chance, instead of long terms of imprisonment.
My personal and professional passion is to see the people behind the charge or the case, including not just the victim, but also the human being accused of wrongdoing. I strive to understand the root cause of the wrong, so that the court system can help address the problem and help the person, while ensuring the safety of the community and justice for victims.
In my free time I like to coach my boys' Valley Soccer team and prepare SU law students for mock trial competitions. In addition to serving on the board of directors for Huntington Family Centers and the Onondaga County Bar Association, I am also the President of the Syracuse Latin School PTO.