Bill Cervone was first elected State Attorney for the 8th Judicial Circuit, which serves Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Levy, Gilchrist and Union Counties in 2000. He was re-elected to a second term in 2004 and a third term in 2008. His election to that office culminated over 20 years of service to the 8th Circuit as an Assistant State Attorney. He was first employed as an Assistant State Attorney in 1973 upon his graduation from the University of Florida Law School. After four years prosecuting in juvenile court, he was promoted to a felony prosecution position. In the following years he served as a felony supervisor and, immediately prior to his election, as Chief Assistant State Attorney from 1993 to 2000. He has for over 25 years been involved in not only the trial of cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to the most serious of capital murders but also in the administration and management of the office.
Bill brings to the office a perspective combining both practical experience in casework and management experience in running the office, which is in essence the largest law firm in the Circuit. He has a keen interest in alternatives that might reduce or correct criminal activity, especially among children and teens, and supports many innovative programs designed to differentiate between criminals who need to be locked up because of their crimes and history and relatively minor offenders who can truly be rehabilitated. He is also committed to active victim advocacy and the rights of citizens who have been crime victims and who have no other representative in the criminal justice system but the State Attorney. He has created a workforce that is active in its community, especially in areas touching on criminal justice issues, and that strives to insure that the entire Circuit has access to the resources needed to address those issues.
Bill has been recognized for many accomplishments while working under former State Attorneys Gene Whitworth and Rod Smith. In 1985 he was named Florida's outstanding prosecutor and received the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association's Gene Berry Memorial Award. He currently serves as President of the Florida Prosecuting Attorney's Association. He is active in many community organizations, especially those that are related to criminal justice and juvenile justice crimes. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida Law School, where he has taught Trial Tactics for over 20 years, and has been a frequent instructor at professional seminars for prosecutors over the years. A native of Tampa, he has lived in Gainesville since 1967 and is a 1971 graduate of the University of Florida and a 1973 graduate of the University of Florida Law School.