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News Every Day |

Questionnaire: Douglas I. Leifert, candidate for Palm Beach County Court Judge Group 2

Questionnaire: Douglas I. Leifert, candidate for Palm Beach County Court Judge Group 2

Name: Douglas I. Leifert
Date and place of birth: January 22, 1965, Manhasset NY
Office sought: Palm Beach County Court Judge, Group 2
Campaign website: www.leifertforjudge.com

List in reverse chronological order each college, university and law school and indicate years of attendance.
Nova Southeastern University Law School 1987-1990
University of Miami, 1985-1987
University of Florida, 1983-1985

List in reverse chronological order your work history for the past 15 years.
Leifert & Leifert 1997-present
Douglas I Leifert, P.A. 1995-1997
Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office 1990-1995

As a lawyer, judge, or both, describe what types of cases you have typically handled?
In my 34 years of experience as a lawyer I have handled a wide range of cases that cover multiple areas of law. I began my career prosecuting crimes against the elderly and environmental crimes. During that time, I also volunteered as a youth court judge, presiding over cases involving first-time juvenile offenders of non-violent crimes. Working with the community was incredibly rewarding and I continued to volunteer as a youth court judge for over 20 years, even earning the Governor’s Award for Community Service. Once I opened my private practice, I managed thousands of cases, including criminal, traffic, and Driver’s License law matters. I have also handled numerous injunction cases for both Petitioners and Respondents, involving issues such as Stalking, Harassment, Repeat Violence, and Domestic Violence.

If you are an attorney, how many cases have you tried in the past five years? Of those cases, how many were tried before juries to verdicts and how many were tried before a judge?
A vast majority of my clients are good citizens, who have never been in any prior legal trouble, in primarily Misdemeanor and Traffic cases. These cases mostly are resolved by negotiated settlements and those that do not will usually go to a Bench Trial without a Jury. As a defense lawyer for 29 years, I have conducted and participated in at least a dozen Jury Trials to verdict. In the last 5 years I have had only one Jury Trial as a defense lawyer. COVID prevented many Trials from happening for most of that period. I had several cases set for Trial in the last year, but they were Dismissed by the State prior as they lost confidence in their case or that they would win. It is also difficult to get my clients to go to Trial when they are spending more money and taking a much greater risk of going to Jail or having a permanent mark on their record. As a Palm Beach County Assistant State Attorney (Prosecutor) I conducted too many Jury and Bench Trials to count and was in Trial almost weekly, especially when I was designated the Chief Recidivist Prosecutor for repeat offenders who we felt needed a more skilled prosecution by a more experienced Prosecutor. Indeed, cases that go to Trial are the ones that generally have to either because of minimum mandatory prison terms or because the Client is simply Not Guilty. Prosecutors will generally and eventually look to resolve the weaker cases for a favorable result for these Clients thus making these cases resolve rather than going to Trial. If a client can get a case Dismissed on a negotiated basis there is no need for a Trial. My skill is getting these cases resolved so that they do not have to go to Trial. It is much more efficient especially if we can get the case resolved to the Client’s satisfaction. As a Judge I would encourage the parties to try and negotiate an outcome that they all can live with. If the case goes to Trial one side will be very unhappy. Nevertheless, I would never stand in the way of someone’s absolute desire to have a Constitutionally guaranteed fair, timely, impartial and efficient Trial.

If you are a judge, how many jury trials have you presided over that resulted in verdicts and judgments?
N/A

Have you been a party to a lawsuit, including bankruptcy or foreclosure? If so, provide details, including case style, jurisdiction and details of disposition.
N/A

Have you been charged or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, including adjudications of guilt withheld? If so, provide charges, dates of conviction and terms of sentence.
NO

Have you ever been disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court as a result of a recommendation by the Florida Bar? If so, provide details.
NO

List three cases in which you were lead or co-counsel and why they are significant.
I have spent my entire career in the Courtroom and have been Attorney of record on over 50,000 cases since 1995. These are mostly County Court cases consisting of minor crimes and traffic offenses. In County Court we do not often set legal precedent but help good, hard-working people in unique and unfortunate circumstances. While these matters may seem trivial, they are all immensely important to each of my clients. What may appear to be a small matter to me is often the biggest event in their lives. I am proud to have a 99% percent client satisfaction rate, resulting in over 500 five-star Google reviews. On average, I appear in court about 30 times per week. Each case is significant not only to my clients and their families but also to me as the lawyer responsible for their outcomes. While these matters may seem trivial, they are immensely important to each of my clients.

If you have provided any significant pro bono legal services in the past 10 years, please provide details.
I report an average of 50 hours of pro bono work per year by providing free consultations to anyone who calls or visits my office. In reality, the amount of pro bono work I do is much higher. I speak to dozens of people each week without keeping formal records of those consultations. I believe it is important to provide free legal advice to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay fees and I try to help people whenever I can. My over 20 years as a Volunteer Judge for the Youth Court Diversion Program is a way I was able to help first-time juvenile offenders.

List current and former memberships in civic, fraternal, legal or social organizations.
⦁ Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity
⦁ Florida Bar (FL Bar)
⦁ Palm Beach County Bar Association (PBC Bar)
⦁ National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
⦁ Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL)
⦁ Palm Beach County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PBCACDL)

If you are or were an officer or director or engaged in management of any business enterprise other than a law practice, list its name and business activity, your duties and whether you intend to resign upon your election.
I am a Managing Member of D&D Acquisitions, LLC. This entity owns my office building in Delray Beach. I do not intend to sell the property or resign from this position. Judges are permitted to own and maintain real estate so it will not present a conflict with judicial duties.

Why are you running for this office?
Running for Judge is the highest calling that there is for my profession. I feel that it is vital for successful and competent attorneys to volunteer to serve the community in any way that they can. My 34 years of experience, being the Attorney of record on over 50,000 cases, gives me the perspective and wisdom necessary to be able to make the hard decisions and choices that judges are asked to make on a daily basis. I have represented citizens from nearly every aspect of our community as well as others from around the U.S. and the world. I am looking to serve in the highest capacity that there is for me as an experienced and seasoned Attorney.

If you have chosen to run for judicial office against an incumbent, specify why you have done so.
N/A

If you have sought appointment as a judge through a Judicial Nominating Commission, provide details, including year(s) and results.
I am a first-time candidate and have never applied through the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Why should voters elect you instead of your opponent(s)?
Experience, perspective, wisdom and motivation to serve. If elected, I am prepared to run an ethical and efficient courtroom and always be fair when serving on the bench. My 34 years of experience practicing law combined with over 50,000 court cases, provides me with the necessary qualifications citizens deserve in the courtroom. I am a seasoned courtroom attorney, appearing in court almost daily. Working with thousands of clients and their families along with my colleagues and Judges, has given me the perspective and wisdom necessary to serve as a Judge. I am a first-time candidate ready and willing to step away from a successful business that I started from the ground up to have the privilege to serve the community in a different capacity. This is unlike my opponents who have both applied numerous times through the Judicial Nominating Commission and have not been chosen to serve on the bench. Lastly, in addition to my years of experience I have worked diligently to maintain my reputation of honesty, professionalism and, most importantly, a consistent temperament.

What in your life experience best qualifies you to serve as a judge?
The life experience that best qualifies me to serve as a judge is my 25-year marriage and parenthood. My wife’s battles with Breast Cancer at a very young age have bonded our family and taught us to prioritize what is truly important and how we can best support each other and those around us. The saying “it takes a village” was never more clearly illustrated to me than during those challenging times. It brought us closer as a family and to our friends and neighbors, solidifying our commitment to giving back whenever we can. Celebrating and supporting our two sons, who are about to become independent members of our community after graduating college and finishing graduate school, has taught me the importance of prioritizing and preserving the family unit whenever possible. This experience has reinforced my belief in helping others maintain their lifestyles, marriages, and livelihoods, regardless of the challenges they encounter.

What are three major challenges facing the justice system in Broward County, Florida or the U.S.?
Three major challenges facing the justice system are a lack of diversity in the courts, lack of citizen participation in the jury system and the cost of Judicial Administration.

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