San Diego Superior Court Judge Harry L. Powazek Retires

Oct 09, 2023
Harry L. Powazek retires

The Honorable Harry L. Powazek recently completed his last day on the San Diego Superior Court bench, ending a 28-year stint as a judicial officer.

After having served as a Superior Court commissioner in Family Court from 1995-2007, Judge Powazek was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to become a Superior Court judge in 2007.

With most of his career taking place within Family Court assignments, Judge Powazek also presided over Drug Court in North County for 15 years, which was a particularly satisfying assignment for him. Over the course of 18 months at a minimum, though often longer, Drug Court diversion program participants attend court dates and complete various requirements that can end with a dismissal of their criminal case. To Judge Powazek, it was a fascinating process to watch participants go from addiction to reuniting with their family members and becoming contributing members of society and it was an honor for him to dismiss the cases upon program completion.

“I have had an interesting run during my 28 years on the bench and ultimately feel like I made a difference,” said Judge Powazek.

Before taking the bench, Judge Powazek managed a family law private practice from 1982-1995 and provided criminal defense representation for indigent defendants shortly after graduating from Western State University College of Law and becoming an attorney.

“A true expert in the field of family law, Judge Powazek is respected and loved by his colleagues, court staff, and the family court bar,” said Judge Michael T. Smyth, San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge. “He cared deeply about every case he presided over and he provided an invaluable service in mentoring new judges in family law assignments. We wish him all the best in his hard-earned retirement.”

Judge Powazek was active on the San Diego Superior Court Domestic Violence Committee and the Family Court Policy Committee. He is a member of the California Judges’ Association, a past board member of the San Diego County Judges’ Association, and a past master of the American Inns of Court, Fiorenzo V. Lopardo Chapter.

While still an attorney, Judge Powazek was honored with the Norbert Ehrenfreund Award from the San Diego County Certified Family Law Specialists in recognition of outstanding and unselfish service to the Family Law Bar and Bench. After becoming a judge, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Family Law Jurist Award from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was awarded Judicial Officer of the Year by the Certified Family Law Specialists of the San Diego County Bar Association.

In retirement, Judge Powazek plans to remain active in the family law area and make his return to the gym. He also looks forward to spending time playing all his recently re-strung guitars.