Judge Craig C. Villanti
Judge Villanti received his B.A. degree in 1974 in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he attended on a New York State Regent's Scholarship Award. He received his J.D. degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1977. While at Stetson, his team won first place in the Senior Moot Court Competition, and he represented the school at state competition.
Upon graduation from law school in 1977, Judge Villanti entered private practice in New Port Richey. He was primarily a sole practitioner, personally handling all appeals for the firm. His appellate practice included cases in the Second District Court of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Villanti held all offices of the West Pasco Bar Association before serving as president in 1985. While president, he received three statewide awards for the Association: Volunteer Lawyer's Program (pro bono), Fee Arbitration, and Judicial Poll. He received The Florida Bar Award for Meritorious Public Service (1988) and an award for Outstanding and Dedicated Service from the Community Aging and Retirement Services, Inc. (1989). In 1991 he founded Helping the Elderly with Legal Problems (H.E.L.P.) to provide weekly pro bono services to the needy elderly population in Pasco County.
In 1990 he was appointed as a traffic court magistrate for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. In 1992 he was elected circuit court judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. He was reelected without opposition in 1998. After an initial one-year assignment in Pinellas County, he served in Pasco County until his appointment to the Second District Court of Appeal in February 2003 by Governor Jeb Bush.
Judge Villanti has served on Florida Bar Committees for Civil and Criminal Procedure and chaired a Bar Grievance Committee. He has lectured at the Judicial College on Advanced Education on topics concerning probate and guardianship law, and he has taught as an adjunct professor at Pasco-Hernando Community College and at St. Leo College on subjects involving real estate and torts. He is an Eagle Scout and has been the keynote speaker for Eagle Scout recognition ceremonies on several occasions. He has coached boys and girls in various recreational youth sports and served as a volunteer for the National Parks.
Judge Villanti was born in Flushing, New York, in 1952. He is married, has three children, two granddaughters, and two grandsons.