The Trials, Tribulations, and Rewards of Being the First

Vol. 53 No. 2

John M. Leventhal is an associate justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Judicial Department. As a trial judge, he presided over New York State’s first domestic violence part and the nation’s first felony domestic violence part from June 1996 until January 2008.

Daniel D. Angiolillo is a retired associate justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Second Judicial Department, and former member of the court’s constitutional bench.

Matthew J. D’Emic has been the presiding judge of the Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court since 1998 and the presiding judge of the Brooklyn Mental Health Court since 2002. He is chair of the ABA Alternatives to Incarceration and Diversion Committee and an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School.


PART I: The First Felony Domestic Violence Court

The Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court’s list of accomplishments is long. This pilot project, which turned into a national model, has had many successes, including the establishment of the Family Justice Center.

What’s more, its probationers have one-half the violation rate compared to the general probation population.

By John M. Leventhal

PART II: The First Integrated Domestic Violence Court

The “one family/one judge” concept has simplified the court process for litigants, reduced the number of appearances in multiple courts, and addressed conflicting orders of protection.

By Daniel D. Angiolillo

PART III: The First Mental Health Court

The first mental health court in New York has reaped many rewards while dealing with the intricacies of mental illness and its effect on families and relationships.

By Matthew J. D’Emic

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