Judge Verna Leath was appointed to the bench of the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey in 2005. She is currently assigned to the Criminal Division. In her present assignment Judge Leath presides over two calendars, regularly assigned criminal cases, and a second calendar of cases accepted by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office diversionary program, a program for certain defendants who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Judge Leath sat in the Family Division for three years where her primary caseload was Children in Court cases. Judge Leath's first appointment was to the Civil Division.
Judge Leath is a member of the Board of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness Inthe Courts. She is the Chairperson of the Essex County Vicinage Committee on Minority Concern. Her professional affiliations include: Garden State Bar Association and the National Bar Association. She is a former trustee of the Hudson County Bar Association (trustee), a former member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Practice, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Professional Ethics, the National Association of Women Judges, the Anne Thompson Inn of Court, the Hudson County Inns of Court (Master), Horizon Health Care (Board Member) the Community Advisory Board of Hudson County Community College, and the Presidential Advisory Board of Wheaton College. Judge Leath is a past recipient of a Justice Medallion for Achievement in the Law.
Prior to her appointment to the bench Judge Leath's entire professional career was in public service' holding positions as an attorney with the Community Health Law Project and as a Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Law and Public Safety. Judge Leath was a career public defender: Essex County (Assistant Deputy Public Defender), Morris County (First Assistant Deputy Public Defender) and Hudson Count (Deputy Public Defender), her last position before her appointment to the bench. Judge Leath is a graduate of Wheaton College, Norton Massachusetts and received her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, N.J.