Vito M. DeStefano is a New York State Supreme Court Justice presiding in the Commercial Division and over the Tax Certiorari part of the court in Nassau County. He was elected to Supreme Court in 2007. Prior to serving in the Supreme Court, Judge DeStefano was a Nassau County District Court Judge for four years. In his judicial capacity, Judge DeStefano has handled thousands of civil and criminal matters from commencement through verdict or decision. He is the author of many published decisions covering a wide array of legal issues.
Judge DeStefano was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics (“ACJE”) in 2009 and served as a voting member until 2019. Judge DeStefano currently serves on the Ethics Faculty of the ACJE. Since 2019, Judge DeStefano has served on the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, revising and recommending rules and changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Judge DeStefano has been an adjunct professor at Hofstra University School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Long Island University C.W. Post School of Accountancy and at Molloy College in the undergraduate and graduate business programs. Among the courses taught by Judge DeStefano are Business Ethics (to MBA students) and Lawyers’ Ethics at Hofstra University School of Law. In the summer of 2016, Judge DeStefano co-taught advanced argumentation at St. John’s University School of Law. He currently teaches Professional Responsibility and New York Civil Practice at St. John’s.
Judge DeStefano is a frequent continuing legal education lecturer. His article on the Limits of Permissible Judicial Campaign Speech in New York was published in the St. John’s Law Review in December 2020.
From 1999 through 2003, Judge DeStefano was as an associate at a major mid-town law firm. A substantial part of his practice involved appellate work and insurance litigation of all types. Before entering private practice, Judge DeStefano served as an Appellate Court Attorney at the Appellate Division Second Judicial Department. Judge DeStefano received his juris doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies (magna cum laude) from Wagner College. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and was born in Brooklyn, New York.