A well-known western Queens attorney is hoping to trade in his prolific practice for a seat on the bench.
John Ciafone, 50, a married father of three who was born and raised in Astoria, is running for a judgeship on the Queens Civil Court.
“I was born at the old Boulevard Hospital, the son of an immigrant and a product of public schools, and basically I believe it’s an honor to be a judge,” Ciafone said. “All these years the Queens County party has always selected the judges and it’s time for a change.”
A trial attorney for more than a quarter of a century, Ciafone described himself as an independent and criticized the current judicial establishment as beholden to special interests.
“I learned from my father that judges are supposed to be respectful and some are while others are not,” Ciafone said. “Litigants should always feel comfortable in the courtroom, and the judge should feel empathy towards them especially for those who are not represented by counsel. That is what I want to bring to the courtroom.”
Ciafone studied at St John’s University’s School of Law and has worked as a hearing officer for the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) and as a small claims court arbitrator.
“I’ve represented thousands of Queens County families while practicing law for more than 25 years and I feel the court should always have a level playing field,” Ciafone said. “I want to look after the little person and make sure they get the justice they deserve.”
He served as the Secretary to the President of Community School Board 30 which includes Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Corona, Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside. Ciafone is also an EMT/Paramedic trained EMS first responder who has volunteered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have helped thousands of parents and children demanding more school services as crossing guards, police, traffic lights, and other safety and health concerns while increasing funding for the construction of new schools and producing over 7,000 new seats,” Ciafone told the Campaign Finance Board. “I was involved in the successful lawsuit against the state for inadequate funding for New York City schools.”
Ciafone is running against Jessica Earle-Gargan, a St, John’s Law School graduate living in Bayside. She is a former assistant district attorney who specialized in prosecuting domestic violence crimes, according to her website. Earle-Gargan’s additional experience includes serving as a court attorney for two Supreme Court justices, where she worked on divorce and child custody cases.
Early voting is already underway leading up to the June 23 primary election.