Judge Ozerden is a second generation Turkish American and son of a prominent medical doctor in Gulfport, MS. After graduating at the top of his class from Gulfport High School in 1985, he attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University in 1989. He then served six years active duty as a commissioned officer and naval flight officer in the U.S. Navy, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant as an A-6E Intruder bombardier/navigator. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for missions flown over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch and Somalia during Operation Restore Hope.
Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden currently serves as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He was nominated to the position by President George W. Bush in 2006.
Returning from military duty, Judge Ozerden earned his law degree from Stanford Law School, where he served as associate editor for the Stanford Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Eldon Fallon, U.S. District Court Judge in New Orleans, before returning home to Gulfport to work at one of Gulf Coast’s most respected law firms.
Judge Ozerden has also been a dedicated community leader and volunteer which resulted in his selection as one of the Top Ten South Mississippi Business Leaders Under 40 (2004). His past and continuing community/civic activities include: Graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast, Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce (2003); Chair-Elect of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce (2005); Executive Committee/Vice President of Public Affairs, Gulfport Chamber (2000-2003); Volunteer of the Year Award for 2003, Gulfport Chamber; Vice President of the Gulfport Business Club (2004-2005); Vestry Member, St. Peter’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church (2002-2004); Member of the Rotary Club of Gulfport (since 1999); Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club of Gulfport; Mentor, Gulfport Public Schools (since 1999); and Eagle Scout, Boy Scout Troop 209, Gulfport, Mississippi.