Chief Judge Janet DiFiore
Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the State of New York, was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on December 1, 2015. She was confirmed by the New York State Senate on January 21, 2016, and took office the same day.
Chief Judge DiFiore has devoted virtually her entire professional career to the fair administration of justice, including service as a prosecutor and as a judge.
From 2006 to 2016, as Westchester County District Attorney, Chief Judge DiFiore served as the chief law enforcement officer for a county with almost one million people and headed an office of over 230 employees, assigned to eight branch offices. In that position, she was in the forefront of establishing innovative education and prevention initiatives to reduce crime. Her many initiatives included leading the effort to create a Child Fatality Review Team in Westchester County; working to establish Westchester County’s Multidisciplinary Team to investigate child abuse cases; and the creation of the Child Advocacy Center, to provide a child-friendly environment for young victims working with the District Attorney’s office. She also led the effort to establish the Westchester Intelligence Center, in order to facilitate the use of databases to obtain evidence and uncover trends in criminal activity, and established a Violent Felony Screening Protocol, for enhanced early review of the evidence in cases involving violent crimes.
Chief Judge DiFiore served as a Judge in Westchester County Court from 1999 to 2002, presiding, by designation, over matters in Family Court, Surrogate’s Court and Supreme Court. She served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice from 2003 to 2005. During that time, she was the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Courts for the Ninth Judicial District, leading the effort to reduce the criminal case backlog, to establish a Mental Health Court and a Sex Offender Court, and the implementation of Domestic Violence and Drug Treatment Courts. She also served as Access to Justice Coordinator for the Ninth Judicial District.
Prior to being elected as a Judge, Chief Judge DiFiore served as an Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Narcotics Bureau in Westchester County; Deputy Village Counsel for the Village of Bronxville; and worked in private practice.
In 2014, Chief Judge DiFiore served as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Safety and Justice, created to recommend reforms to the laws governing the prosecution of young offenders. In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to serve as the first Chair of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Chief Judge DiFiore has also served as the Co-Chair of the New York State Justice Task Force, created in 2009 by then-Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, to examine the causes of wrongful convictions. Then-Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye appointed her, in 1999, to serve on the Commission on Drugs and the Courts, and, in 2004, Judge Kaye appointed her to serve on the Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services. Chief Judge DiFiore also has served as the Co-Chair of the Westchester County Reentry Task Force and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center. And, in 2011-12, she served as President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.
Chief Judge DiFiore received her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1981 and her B.A. from C.W. Post College, Long Island University in 1977.
Information about Judge DiFiore is also available on the Executive Officers' page.