Photo of The Honorable Thomas N. Palermo, Unified Family Court, Division I

The Honorable Thomas N. Palermo, Unified Family Court, Division I

November 28, 2022

Judge Thomas N. Palermo is a native of Tampa, Florida. He was born at Women’s Hospital, grew up in the greater Carrollwood area, and has extensive roots in his hometown. His mother, whose first language is Spanish, is from Ybor City. She served a full career as a professor and, before that, as an English teacher at Leto High School. His father is from Seminole Heights. He owns a marine-related business in Drew Park. His brother and sister-in-law are attorneys here in Tampa and his sister is a real estate agent here in Tampa. Growing up, Judge Palermo was a member of Saint Timothy’s Catholic Parish, Saint Mary’s, and Saint Paul’s. Judge Palermo attended Saint John’s Episcopal and then Jesuit High School.

Appointed by Governor DeSantis to the Circuit Court (Group 41) on March 29, 2019.
Commission Date: May 13, 2019.

Elected without opposition, November 3, 2020.


Unified Family Court (June 2019 – present)
a. Domestic Relations I (January 2022 – present)

b. Delinquency Division F (January 2020 – December 2021)

b. Dependency Division C (June 2019 – January 2020)


Master of Laws (LL.M.), University of London King’s College (KCL) (2002)

Specialization: Banking & Finance Law

Juris Doctorate (J.D.), cum laude, The Florida State University College of Law (2001)

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), The American University (1998)

Major: Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, Government (CLEG)

Minor: International Studies

Student body president (1996-1997)

High School, Jesuit High School (Tampa) (1994)

Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office (Tampa) (May 12, 2007 – May 12, 2019)

Federal prosecutor in Tampa, Florida. Served in the Transnational Organized Crime Section, the Economic Crimes Section, the Organized Crime Section, and the Violent Crimes and Narcotics Section.
District Opioid Coordinator, Middle District of Florida (2017-2019). Responsible for coordinating anti-opioid efforts of the second most populous District in the United States. Prosecuted opioid-related cases, prepared a revised 2018 MDFL anti-opioid strategy, created a new intelligence and evidence collection process with Florida medical examiners, shared best practices amongst opioid-responsible colleagues, and collected and analyzed the best available data on the opioid threat to the District.
Reviewer. Responsible for reviewing prior to presentation to the Court and as part of the Section chain of command certain investigatory techniques (e.g., wiretap applications, search warrants, tracking warrants, pen registers) and certain pleadings prior to their presentation to the court.
Senior Litigation Counsel for the Criminal Division (Tampa). Trained other AUSAs, including implementing a training program focused on new hires. In a one-year period, put on fourteen training programs, many in collaboration with partners, including a districtwide wiretap training program attended by more than 140 law enforcement officers and AUSAs. Also worked to develop and sustain partnerships with client agencies.
Prosecuted a number of significant, complex cases, including a completed murder-for- hire, an intended murder-for-hire of a federal witness, a significant health care fraud prosecution, a narcotics distribution with death case, a complex science-related fraud case, a maritime drug smuggling case, a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) case involving numerous vulnerable victims, and many others.
Previously served as the Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator, formed the original MDFL Mortgage Fraud Task Force with another AUSA, and served as the District’s Mortgage Fraud Coordinator.
Was assigned Top Secret(TS)/Secure Compartmentalized Information (SCI) clearance.
Assistant State Attorney, State Attorney’s Office, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Tampa) (July 2003 – May 12, 2007)

In addition to service as a general prosecutor, served as the Deputy Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit, its Lead Trial Attorney, and as a Domestic Violence prosecutor.
Tried most major crimes prosecuted in Florida, including murder, trafficking, burglary, and sexual battery. Also had the unusual responsibility of serving as lead counsel in a civil case against a conglomerate of strip clubs.
Federal Judicial Law Clerk, U.S. Magistrate Judge (Tampa) (July 2002 – July 2003)

Researched for and otherwise assisted in the adjudication of federal civil and criminal litigation, Social Security appeals, and other duties as assigned.
Drafted proposed orders, memoranda of law, and assisted in the preparation of legal presentations.

Tried more than sixty cases to verdict (2003–2019).


Presented more than fifty times on various substantive topics, including wiretaps, rules of evidence, trial skills, Daubert, social media evidence, opioids, identity theft, fraud, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, domestic violence, money laundering, mortgage fraud, and criminal procedure.
Author of The Opioid Crisis, Crim. Just., Winter 2019.
Author of Going “Cocoanuts:” Looking at Modern Mortgage Fraud, 57 Fed. Law. 38 (June 2010).
2020 Robert W. Patton Outstanding Jurist Award (HCBA YLD) (March 25, 2021)
2019 FBI recognition for excellence in prosecuting a major criminal case (United States v. Smith) (March 2019).
2019 Special Achievement for Program Contract/Grand Fraud Investigation award, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (2019).
2019 Complex Financial Crime investigation, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (2019).
2018 HHS-OIG Inspector General’s Cooperative Achievement Award in recognition of efforts on Shire Pharmaceuticals investigation team (June 11, 2018).
2018 NASA-OIG presentation of KSC-81PC-137, Space Shuttle Columbia on Pad 39A, in recognition of performance in United States v. Akbar Fard. (May 14, 2018).
2018 Case of the Year Award, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (for prosecutions related to Advanced Biohealing) (April 19, 2018).
2017 U.S. Department of Labor-Inspector General Team Award (March 14, 2018) for investigation and prosecution of major healthcare-related case
2017 U.S. Coast Guard (Citation) Meritorious Team Commendation for meritorious service while serving on the United States v. Polshyn trial team as the sole prosecutor.
2017 FBI recognition for demonstrated excellence in prosecuting a major criminal case (United States v. Polshyn).
2017 FBI challenge coin (presented to all AUSAs who participated in the post-Pulse attack efforts, here, embedding at the Fort Pierce FBI-RA immediately in the aftermath of the attack).
2017 U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General plaque for significant work identifying healthcare fraud by Amerimed leading to the prosecution of four cases.
2016 NASA Office of the Inspector General recognition for outstanding contribution to the mission of the NASA Inspector General.
2016 Public Corruption Investigation Award, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (investigation into corruption at the U.S. Postal Service).
2016 Complex Financial Crime Investigation Award, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (investigation into a complex ring of identity theft targeting veterans receiving healthcare at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and using their identities to file fraudulent tax returns to obtain refunds).
2016 Department of the Army, Patriotic Civilian Service Award for leadership and dedication to ensure the investigation and prosecution of major fraud procurement cases and contributing to the readiness of the U.S. Army.
2016 DEA, FBI, Coast Guard Investigative Service, and U.S. Coast Guard recognition for United States v. Polshyn prosecution.
2015 Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence (sponsoring agency: National Science Foundation).
2015 Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence (sponsoring agency: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).
2015 NASA recognition for dedication to public service and significant contributions to the NASA Office of the Inspector General’s mission (presented with an American flag flown in space aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor, STS-108, launched December 5, 2001).
2015 Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the U.S. Army recognition for major contributions to the Department of Defense and U.S. Army through the prosecution of United States v. Aldissi (presented with an American flag flown over the U.S. Embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan on July 4, 2011).
2015 Case of the Year Award, Tampa Region Financial Crimes and Inspectors General Council (for prosecution of United States v. Aldissi).
2015 National Science Foundation Office of the Inspector General plaque in recognition of leadership, effort, and dedication in the investigation and prosecution of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) fraud cases.
2015 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General plaque for dedication and professionalism greatly furthering the mission of protecting the homeland.
2010 Raymond E. Fernandez Award from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Hispanic Advisory Council for outstanding contributions to the criminal justice system.
2009 U.S. Postal Office of the Inspector General plaque in recognition of outstanding efforts and contributions through mail theft prosecutions.
2009 U.S. Attorney’s Office Mortgage Fraud Award for outstanding contributions in mortgage fraud prosecutions.
2009 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Integrity Award for major contributions to the Office of the Inspector General’s goals and objectives.


Master, Herbert G. Goldburg Criminal Law Inn of Court (9/02 - present)
President (2011-2012)
Master, Cheatwood Inn of Court (9/09 - present)
Master, Ferguson-White Inn of Court (9/19 – 2021)
Member, Florida Bar’s Criminal Law Section Executive Council (7/18 - present)
Member, Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee (7/12 - 6/18)
Florida Bar Grievance Committee (13A) (2015 - 2019)
Chair (2018 - 2019)
Co-Chair, Bench Bar Committee, Hillsborough County Bar Association (2017 - present)
Commissioner, Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission (2006 - 2010)
Member, Merit Selection Panel (MDFL, retention of USMJ Porcelli) (2017)
Member, Federal Bar Association (Tampa Bay Chapter) (2008 – 2011)
Executive Board (2008 - 2011)
Co-Chair, American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Regional Subcommittee (2012 - 2014)
Member, Economic Club of Tampa (2004 – present)
Member, Tampa Hispanic Bar Association
Member, Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers
Member, George Edgecomb Bar Association
Initial Screening Committee, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Professionalism Committee (appointment by Chief Judge)
Board Guest, Saint John’s Episcopal Day School Board of Trustees (2021 – present)
Leadership Tampa (2020-2021)
Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
Fort Brooke District Chair, Greater Tampa Bay Area Council (2020 – present)
Assistant Cub Master, Pack 23 (2016 - 2021)


Movie Extra, Casting Collective (London, UK) (2001-2002)
Jessup International Moot Court (2000-2001)
Summer Associate, de la Parte & Gilbert, P.A. (2000)
National Italian American Bar Association Scholarship (1999-2000)
Graduate Intern, Florida House of Representatives (Academic Excellence Council) (1999-2000)
Intern, NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Partnership Coordination Cell (Brussels, Belgium) (PCC) (1997)
American University’s Outstanding Leadership Award (1997)
Staff Assistant, U.S. House of Representatives (1995-1996)
Intern, U.S. Senate (1994-1995)