Georgetown University. University of Virginia School of Law.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in Washington, District of Columbia in 1975, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville in 1980. He was a law clerk for Boyce Martin on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1980 to 1981. He was in private practice of law at the firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City from 1981 to 1985.
He was an assistant United States. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 1985 to 1994 where he was noted for his prosecution of Mafia cases, most notably that of Gambino crime boss John Gotti which resulted in Gotti"s conviction.
Gleeson was nominated by President Bill Clinton on July 22, 1994, to a seat vacated by Jack B. Weinstein. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 28, 1994, and received his commission the next day.
As a district judge Gleeson was a critic of harsh mandatory sentencing, going so far as to request federal prosecutors vacate convictions he had been forced to impose. Judge Gleeson’s ruling against the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a landmark racial profiling case was reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal (2009). Judge Gleason oversaw the prosecution of Jordan Belfort, famous as the “Wolf of Wall Street”.
In 2012 Judge Gleeson approved a deferred prosecution agreement with Household Bank widely criticized as being too lenient. He caused controversy in 2016 by ordering reports by the bank"s independent publicly disclosed. On January 4, 2016, it was announced that Gleeson plans to resign from the bench and return to private practice on March 9, 2016.
Gleeson would join white shoe firm Debevoise & Plimpton to practice white-collar crime defense.
He is a supporter of "Drug Court" programs which encourage rehabilitation rather than mandatory minimum jail sentences for non-violent drug offenses.