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Judicial Excellence: Judge Steve Leifman Receives Papal Medal Benemerenti

October 22, 2023

Congratulations to our very own Judge Steve Leifman for being awarded the Papal Medal Benemerenti this past Oct. 22nd during the 65th Anniversary celebration of the Archdiocese of Miami at the Cathedral of Saint Mary.

The medal is granted by Pope Francis "for the recipients’ good and meritorious service," wrote Rev. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, adding that Judge Leifman was chosen for this honor for his work “protecting the dignity of all human lives, particularly his work within the judicial system and its treatment of those with mental illnesses. ”

“Receiving the Papal Medal Benemerenti from Pope Francis is extraordinarily humbling. I am extremely grateful for the light this sheds on our most vulnerable who are suffering with serious mental illnesses on our streets and in our jails,” said Judge Leifman.

Judge Leifman is Associate Administrative Judge of the County Criminal Division and led the creation of the Miami-Dade Courts Criminal Mental Health Project, which serves as a model for other treatment courts nationwide. The program allows for persons with serious mental illnesses to receive community-based treatment and services, with a goal of rehabilitation and recovery in an effort to improve public safety and end “revolving door incarceration,” which often results when serious mental illnesses are left untreated.

He also leads the effort behind the soon-to-open Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery, a first-of-its-kind facility that will offer comprehensive treatment of mental illness along with transitional housing, vocational rehabilitation and employment services. It will include space for a courtroom and legal and social service agencies, and is expected to save millions in taxpayer dollars once it opens.

Learn more here: https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/miami-center-for-mental-health-and-recover-on-the-verge-to-opening-its-doors/

Click below to view the announcement by the Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery.

Pictured: Rev. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, Judge Steve Leifman, and images of the future Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery.

Photos of Papal Medal presentation courtesy of Jonathan Martinez | Archdiocese of Miami.

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