Former 5th District Court of Appeals and Brevard County 18th Circuit Court Judge Vincent G. Torpy, Jr. has died at the age of 65.
In 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Judge Torpy to the Circuit Court of Brevard County where he served for three years in the criminal and civil/family divisions. He also served as the administrative judge of the family division.
He was re-elected to the circuit court bench unopposed in 2002.
Governor Bush appointed Judge Torpy to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2003, where he served as Chief Judge from July 1, 2013, until June 30, 2015.
As an appellate judge, Judge Torpy wrote over 700 majority opinions. In one such case, the decision was initially quashed by the Florida Supreme Court but that decision was later reversed by the United States Supreme Court in a landmark ruling regarding the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Judge Torpy authored thirteen opinions wherein conflict was certified with another Florida district court. In eight of those cases, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Fifth District Court.
In 2008, the Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Nominating Commission nominated Judge Torpy from a field of fifty applicants for a statewide seat on that court.
Prior to his judicial career, Judge Torpy was a partner in private practice with Frese, Nash & Torpy, P.A.
In addition to representing many public entities and boards, he served as outside General Counsel to the Brevard County Sheriff.
Judge Torpy was an adjunct professor at Brevard Community College and the University of Central Florida and served as President of the Vassar B. Carlton American Inn of Court.
He also volunteered as a part-time deputy sheriff assigned to the agricultural and marine unit.
Judge Torpy grew up and attended public schools in Carmel, New York. Throughout his senior year in high school, he worked full-time as the janitor at the local courthouse. During this experience, he developed an interest in the law from his contacts with lawyers, judges and police officers.
Upon graduating from high school, Judge Torpy moved to Florida with his family.
Following a period of employment as a construction laborer, at age 19, he attended the police academy in Brevard County.
After graduation, he began his law enforcement career as a Town of Indialantic police officer. During his tenure there, he earned three commendations for meritorious police service and was ultimately promoted to second-in-command of the beachside agency.
Judge Torpy became a certified police instructor and frequently taught at the police academy.
While working as an officer, Judge Torpy earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Central Florida.
At age 25, he resigned from the police department and moved to Tallahassee, where he attended law school at Florida State University.
Judge Torpy is survived by his wife of forty-two years, Julie. They have three children—a businessman, a lawyer/ officer in the United States Air Force and a fighter pilot/officer in the United States Air Force.
Judge Torpy’s hobbies included motorcycle riding, snow skiing, scuba diving, and do-it-yourself and restoration projects.