Published On: Wed, Oct 12th, 2016

Judge Craig Villanti’s caution, great attitude should give voters confidence for retention

As voters head to the ballot booths, many have to consider the retention of many court officials and Judge Craig Villanti comes with a record of remarks and decision worthy of examination by every voter. Villanti was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in February 2003, retained by voters in 2004 and again in 2010.

2nd District Court of Appeals overturns manslaughter verdict of Dion Kaseta murdering his girlfriend in 2001

In June, the three-person Lakeland-based court ruled 2-1 that Kaseta deserved a new trial. From the LEDGER:

Judge Stevan Northcutt wrote that the conviction was “marred by an evidentiary error that requires a new trial.”

He wrote that Circuit Judge J. Dale Durrance should not have allowed Mimmovich’s sister to tell jurors what her deceased father had told her about a suspected fight Mimmovich and Kaseta had before she disappeared.

Craig Villanti

Craig Villanti

“There is no doubt that the out of court statements (Julie) Martin described fell under the basic definition of hearsay,” Northcutt wrote.

Northcutt wrote that prosecutors presented little evidence Mimmovich had even died. He wrote there was no forensic evidence and examinations of the couple’s trailer, Kaseta’s car and a boat he used for fishing failed to turn up any blood.

“Given the paucity of the State’s evidence even that Mimmovich is dead, let alone that Kaseta killed her, we easily reject the State’s assertion that permitting Martin’s improper testimony was harmless error,” Northcutt wrote. “To the contrary, Kaseta’s conviction may well have unfairly turned on it.”

Villanti wrote that Kaseta’s conviction should stand despite agreeing with a portion of Northcutt’s opinion, writing that Martin’s testimony should be allowed, explaining that it was used to explain a sequence of events that led to the case being solved. (Emphasis added, The Dispatch)

The testimony of the neighbors were the most important factor in determining that there had been fight between the couple and the resulting silence pointed to Kaseta killing the woman and hiding the body. A new trial was set but has been delayed.

ACCORDING TO THE DISPATCH: Villanti seemed valid in his dissent.

The article by the Ledger details the case further, read HERE

Continue reading for more case studies

Pages: 1 2 3 4

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Adrienn Wiebe says:

    Thanks for posting such a detailed and thoughtful examination of Villanti record since he was appointment to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals. This article and the several case studies it reviewed provided a well-substantiated argument for retaining Judge Villantii in office.

    It has been difficult to find good reviews of the records of the 13 judges up for retention on the Florida ballot this election, but this was definitely the most helpful in my opinion. I really appreciated that this article cited cases and let them speak for themselves (clarifying when emphasis or opinions were added by the author).

    Great article – definitely solidified my decision to vote to retain Judge Villanti.

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