Commentary: The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) would’ve but didn’t appeal the Miami gay adoption case to the Florida Supreme Court. Attorney General Bill McCollum would’ve bypassed the DCF but decided against it. Bill McCollum’s office represented DCF in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court and the 3rd District Court of Appeal decisions. Bill McCollum decided that the case didn’t have enough merit for an independent review by the Supreme Court and followed on the way DCF decided. LGBT Frank Martin Gill and his partner sued for adoption of two foster boys, and Judge Cindy Lederman of the Miami-Dade Circuit Court approved the adoption. Although DCF appealed the decision, DCF Secretary George Sheldon and Gov. Charlie Crist never had approved the gay adoption ban law in the first place. George Sheldon had been a Florida lawmaker and voted against the gay adoption ban when it became law in 1977. Sheldon would’ve wanted to see the case go to the Florida Supreme Court to give weight to the appellate court’s decision. Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, has stated that Bill McCollum’s decision not to appeal the case to the Florida Supreme Court pleased the pro gay rights organization. Nadine Smith, a law lobbyist in Tallahassee, disfavored anti-gay prejudice, when it came ahead of the needs of children (and parents). The state elects the Attorney General, and he is responsible to prosecute the constitutional law, but he didn’t go all the way to the Supreme Court in this case. LGBT groups across the state and nation are celebrating … celebrating that the appellate court declared the gay adoption ban unconstitutional after 33 years of standing. Okay, do LGBT get nervous in the end zone?
For explicit reading: http://www.newsserviceflorida.com/cgi/as_web.exe?rev2010+D+9214336.
DCF WON’T APPEAL GAY ADOPTION RULING: The Florida Department of Children and Families won’t appeal the 3rd District Court of Appeals decision that found the state’s ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, a spokesman said Tuesday. The ruling came in the case of Martin Gill, a gay man who had challenged the law in adopting two boys. Both DCF Secretary George Sheldon and Gov. Charlie Crist, have made it clear since the ruling that they agreed with it. Florida had been the only state to have a statutory ban on gay people adopting children. “We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” DCF spokesman Joe Follick said in a statement. “But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion – and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision – has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome. The DCA opinion is binding on all trial courts and therefore provides statewide uniformity. The ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional statewide.” DCF also recently said it has already created new adoption forms that no longer ask prospective adoptive parents about their sexual orientation.
Commentary: First, DCF Secretary George Sheldon is not doing his job and should be fired for not appealing. Governor Charlie Crist appointed him. His beliefs include the gay adoption of children. He was contrary to the law before the law was declared unconstitutional. When Rick Scott is elected, hopefully, he will change George Sheldon and appoint someone who will appeal the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
via The News Service of Florida.
Florida Second District Court of Appeal
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, and one granddaughter.
Commentary: I will have to merit retention vote “YES” for Judge Craig C. Villanti on the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
via District Court of Appeal’s Website.
THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Oct. 5, 2010….. Attorneys for a statewide teachers’ union will go before the Florida Supreme Court Wednesday in an attempt to boot from the November ballot a proposed amendment dealing with school class sizes.
… “Contrary to Appellants’ allegations, Amendment 8’s chief purpose and effect is not to reduce the state’s funding obligation; instead, it is to revise and relax current class size requirements,” lawyers for the Legislature wrote. “Amendment 8 will also excuse virtual classes from the standard and allocate responsibility to the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to maintain the state’s class size goals.”