Monday 22 July, 2019

Jamaican woman seeks election to judgeship in South Florida

Jackie Powell

Jackie Powell

Jamaican-born Jackie Powell is the front runner in a two candidate race for election to the post of judge in the Broward County, South Florida courts. Powell is on the verge of history as she could become the first female Jamaican American judge to sit on the Broward County Court bench.

On August 28, Powell earned 42.3 per cent of the vote to lead the pack of candidates ahead of Allison Gillman who got 38.05 per cent of the votes. Both women will now enter a run off on November 6 for a position on the judicial bench in the Broward County Court. Powell would have been handed the seat if she had won over 50 per cent of the vote but under US voting laws a run off must be held.

Powell was born and raised in the community of Franklin Town in East Kingston, and has her sights set firmly on ensuring justice is served if she gets the nod of approval from the electorate in the South Florida county.

Of the 90 judges who sit on the benches of the Broward County Court system, only nine are black.

“I want to be a part of the change to bring diversity on the bench in Broward.  When I speak of diversity, I am not only referring to race, I am also talking about cultural diversity.  When I speak to my Jamaican community, I tell them that I could be the first female Jamaican-American Judge on the Broward County Bench,” Powell told Loop News.

Powell’s legal background is well established as the owner of her own law firm.

“I am running in a county court seat.  County Court is where first time offenders often find themselves.  If I can make a ruling that will steer someone from the path of a convicted felon, county court is where that can be done. When I am elected, I promise to listen to both sides and make a decision based on the facts and the law,” she said.

After attending the Franklin Town Primary School and Camperdown High, Powell migrated to Queens, New York where she completed high school.

After working to support herself through college, Powell completed her Undergraduate degree in English at Florida Atlantic University.  She landed her first job at the law firm Marc Gold and Barbara Heyer, after which she enrolled in law school full time while holding down a part time job.

Upon graduation, Powell gained employment at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office where she spent eight years, the last three as a supervising attorney for county court.  After leaving the Public Defender’s Office, she ventured into civil litigation and served as a supervising litigation attorney. 

She is currently a solo practitioner at her own firm, Jackie Powell & Associates, where she mainly practices in the areas of family law and criminal defense. 

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