Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh today announced the appointment of Erica T. Clarke to fill a vacant seat on the Syracuse City Court. Clarke, a criminal defense lawyer in Syracuse, has worked in the local court system for the past decade. She has experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney and an assistant corporation counsel.
“I am proud to appoint Erica Clarke to be a City Court Judge. She has a depth of experience in our criminal court system, prosecuting DWI and vehicle crimes in the District Attorney’s office and, most recently, running her own criminal defense practice representing clients accused of felony, violent felony and misdemeanor crimes,” said Mayor Walsh. “Erica’s story is one that will resonate with many in our community. She is a product of Syracuse City Schools and a first generation college graduate in her family. As a teenage mother determined to make an impact on people’s lives, Erica put herself through college and law school and then came home to the City of Syracuse.”
She earned her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Fl., in 2010. After interning in the Office of the Public Defender in Jacksonville, Clarke returned to Syracuse working as a Law and Appeals Intern in the Onondaga County Office of the District Attorney. In 2011, she became an assistant district attorney working in the City/Municipal Court Bureau handling misdemeanor and violation level offenses. In 2013, she moved to the Felony Vehicular Crimes unit prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses, including preparing and conducting jury level trials and hearings.
“I am honored to serve my City as a judge,” said Clarke. “It is extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to help others through some of the hardest times in their lives and to work with them in navigating a system that can be very complex and intimidating to those who are not attorneys. I will work every day to serve the people of Syracuse in the pursuit of justice and fairness.”
Clarke worked as assistant corporation counsel for the City of Syracuse from 2017 to 2019. She represented the City in state and federal lawsuits, including preparing and conducting jury trials and managing all aspects of civil litigation. She currently owns and operates her own law practice, Clarke Law Firm, PLLC, which focuses solely on criminal defense.
Clarke attended Franklin and Danforth Elementary schools, Clary Middle School and Fowler High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Keuka College in 2007. Clarke also worked for the Onondaga County Health Department and Department of Social Services.
Clarke fills a City Court seat vacated by the Hon. Rory McMahon who was elected to State Supreme Court this fall. She will be one of nine judges on the court and will be sworn in as a City Court judge in January.