The Honorable Rom Watson Powell peacefully passed away on December 15, 2017 at the age of 82. He was a beloved judge who served the Central Florida community for decades.
Born in Atlanta, GA, he attended and graduated from Dartmouth College and then went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps as lieutenant infantry platoon commander. Judge Powell later graduated from Stetson College of Law and worked as a law clerk for a prominent Tampa attorney.
Passing the Florida Bar in 1963, Judge Powell served as Assistant State Attorney then moved to Winter Park and began working as an Assistant Orange County Solicitor. Judge Powell worked for a local law firm, Hunter, Pattillo & Powell, and was re-elected Orange County Solicitor in 1970.
Judge Powell served as a prosecutor and tried hundreds of cases including the first case in Florida to use voice print and legal wiretap evidence and the first case in the United States to use DNA evidence. Judge Powell served as Chief Assistant State Attorney and was elected Circuit Judge in 1978. Judge Powell served as Circuit Judge for 18 years, three of those years in Osceola, and tried cases in every division of the court.
Highly respected by his fellow lawyers and Judges, Judge Powell is described as always punctual, hard-working, and fair. In 1996, Judge Powell retired and served as Senior Judge, Special Magistrate, and Arbitrator. He also authored several articles, including a chapter in the Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education book. He taught courses at Rollins College, the University of Central Florida, and at the Florida New Judges College. In leaving, Rom says to all of us “Semper Fi, and may peace be among people and nations, and may justice always prevail.”