Ithaca Police Department on March 22, 2020. (Boris Tsang/Sun Photography Editor)

February 21, 2021

Alumna Brings Her Advocacy Skills to the Tompkins County D.A.’s Office

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The Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrival of a new Assistant District Attorney, Ariana Marmora ’11, on Tuesday.

In her role as ADA, Marmora will be in charge of the criminal prosecutions in the Ithaca City courts. Marmora originally planned on attending graduate school to study philosophy, intellectual history or government, but then decided she wanted to pursue a path with a more immediate and practical impact on people.

Marmora graduated summa cum laude from Cornell in 2011 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Comparative Political Theory as a College Scholar. During her time at Cornell she also served as Editor in Chief of Logos, the Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. 

Following Cornell, she studied law at the City University of New York Law School, where she graduated from in 2014.

That September after graduating CUNY School of Law, she began working at Mobilization for Justice, a program that offers free legal assistance to low income New Yorkers in an effort to ensure equal justice for all. For six years, Marmora specifically represented tenants in proceedings regarding landlord harassment, as a Staff Attorney and Community Outreach Specialist.

“My favorite part of my role at MFJ was the community work,”  Marmora said. “I organized and facilitated a successful community legal clinic in Bushwick, Brooklyn with NYS Assembly Member Maritza Davila, and did community lawyering, outreach, and organizing work with Good Old Lower East Side in Manhattan.”

The D.A. ‘s office opened an expansive search to fill a vacancy for an Assistant District Attorney role in November of 2019, but was forced to halt the search because of a hiring freeze induced by pandemic-related financial strains. Once the D.A.’s office received the approval to continue its search, Marmora was hired.

Tompkins County District Attorney Matthew Van Houten told The Sun that Marmora was exceptionally qualified in the applicant pool.

“Her understanding of the local community and her passion for the underrepresented makes her a perfect fit for our progressive office” Van Houten wrote in an email to The Sun.

Marmora will also be the D.A.’s Office’s representative on the Ithaca Community Treatment Court’s supervisory team, which allows individuals who struggle with substance abuse to receive intensive supervision and support, with the goal of maintaining an extended period of abstinence. 

“Decisions about criminal justice reform and implementing diversion programs must be made with community stakeholders and community members,” Marmora said.

This is what she hopes to do with the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program that the D.A.’s Office will implement in Tompkins County. The national program was designed to improve police-community relations through a public health framework and decrease reliance on the criminal justice system. They hold monthly meetings and training on equity and diversity and reorient the typical responses to crimes to help people suffering from addiction, mental illness or poverty.

“Poverty makes everything in life more difficult. As an advocate you have to ask the questions that will provide a material explanation for an action or chain of events.” Marmora said. “My practice in law has always compelled me to ask these questions and I won’t be changing that practice as a prosecutor.”