Justice DeGrasse is best known for being the trial judge who ruled against the state’s system for financing public schools in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State. His decision was appealed to the New York Court of Appeals, which ultimately ordered an additional $1.9 billion in state aid annually for New York City’s schools.
Born in New York City in October of 1945, Leland George DeGrasse was raised in the Bronx and attended Catholic schools as a youngster. He graduated from St. John’s University in 1967 with a degree in Spanish and in 1972 graduated cum laude from Howard University Law School.
After admission to the Bar, Justice DeGrasse began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx from 1972 to 1975. He then worked in private practice and later joined Harlem Legal Services in 1977 as a staff attorney.
From 1980 to 1985, Justice DeGrasse served as law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Clifford A. Scott in Manhattan. In 1985 he was elected Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, and three years later was elected a State Supreme Court justice.
In 2008, Governor David A. Paterson appointed Justice DeGrasse to the Appellate Division, First Department, where he served until his retirement from the bench in 2015.
Justice DeGrasse had served as president of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the City of New York in 2003 and as president of the Supreme Court Justices Association of the State of New York in 2002.
Justice DeGrasse is married to another jurist, Justice Carol E. Huff of State Supreme Court in Manhattan. They have no children.
Paterson Names DeGrasse, Renwick to First Department, New York Law Journal, April 14, 2008, p. 1.
The Ruling on the Schools: The Judge; A Low-Key Jurist Releases a Decision With an Impact, The New York Times, January 11, 2001.
Leland G. DeGrasse, available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Leland_DeGrasse&oldid=651049316