Craig McCarthy

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Craig Alan McCarthy
Born (1967-08-13) August 13, 1967 (age 49)
Residence Orlando, Florida
Alma mater United States Military Academy
Florida State University College of Law
Occupation Attorney
Employer The Law Office of Craig A. McCarthy
Political party Republican Party
Spouse(s) Tiffaney McCarthy
Children 2
Awards Army of Occupation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Parachutist Badge

Craig Alan McCarthy (born August 13, 1967) is a lawyer and politician from Orlando, Florida. He moved to Florida in 1979, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1989, serving as a member of the Berlin Brigade until returning to the United States to attend law school at Florida State University College of Law. He has practiced many areas of law, eventually opening his own practice for primarily dependency law. He has been an attorney on multiple cases that have gained both national and international attention, including the Rifqa Bary case and the Sharlyn Singh case. He was elected to the Ochlockonee River Soil and Water Conservation District and ran for the Florida House of Representatives out of District 36 as a Republican.


Early life[edit]

McCarthy was born in New Jersey and moved to Brevard County, Florida with his family in 1979 at the age of eleven.[1] McCarthy attended Satellite High School, where he served as student body president; he graduated in 1985.[2]

Military service[edit]

McCarthy attended the United States Military Academy on the nomination of United States Senator Paula Hawkins and then-Congressman Bill Nelson, graduating in 1989.[1] After graduation, McCarthy became a commissioned officer in the United States Army, serving as a field artillery officer at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. Following this appointment, McCarthy was deployed overseas as a member of the Berlin Brigade. In Berlin, he was the youngest battalion staff level fire support officer in the United States military. McCarthy left active military service in 1992, but returned to service as a member of the United States Army Reserve.[1]

Legal career[edit]

McCarthy received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law. He began practicing law in Florida in 1995; his career has covered multiple areas of law.[3] Following graduation from law school, McCarthy began his career as a legal aid in Central Florida. Afterward, he worked in medical license regulation for the state of Florida, and then in employment and civil rights law.

Moving to Orlando in 2001, McCarthy worked for the Florida Department of Children and Families, before opening a private firm, where he practices juvenile and dependency law and as an attorney ad litem for children in lock-down mental facilities.[4]

Sharlyn Singh case[edit]

In 2007, an Orlando women was accused of putting her 11-month-old baby in an oven.[5][6] McCarthy was appointed to the case, and eventually got the dependency case dropped, and the child reunified with the mother.

Rifqa Bary case[edit]

McCarthy served as a lawyer for Aysha Bary for a good part of the Rifqa Bary case.[7] He claimed that Rifqa Bary was not being taught the faith correctly, and that the dependency case had become a "television event".[8] He further argued that neither of the Barys had ever threatened their daughter.[9]

McCarthy moved to have the case moved back to Ohio,[10] which it eventually was. He also alleged that the girl's story of travel to Florida had "holes in it".[10] He criticized Governor Charlie Crist for commenting on the case, referring to the statements as inappropriate for someone who was the boss of attorneys on both sides of the case.[11] He compared the Crist comments to the general politicization he saw in the case.[11] Arguing against Christian versus Muslim sentiments in the case, McCarthy tried to dispel the perception that the parents were fundamentalists.[12] He never billed the state for his work.[13]

Political career[edit]

McCarthy successfully ran for and served on the board of the Ochlockonee River Soil and Water Conservation District while living in Leon County, Florida. He ran for the Florida House of Representatives out of District 36, against incumbent Scott Randolph,[14] receiving early support from Conservatives.[15] He, along with local Tea Party leaders and politicians, drove in a caravan to Arizona to support its immigration law, claiming selective immigration enforcement is uncompassionate and causes people to live in fear, and that the federal government has failed in its duties to protect the people of Arizona.[16] McCarthy lost the race to Greg Reynolds in the Republican primary.


  1. ^ a b c "About Attorney Craig A. McCarthy". The Law Office of Craig A. McCarthy. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Kindland, Stephen (1 June 1985). "Brevard Graduates: We Are Living in a Material World". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Company. 
  3. ^ "The Law Office of Craig A. McCarthy". The Law Office of Craig A. McCarthy. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Editor (20 September 2009). "Christian attorney: Why I think Rifqa Bary's mother is in the right". St. Petersburg Times. Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  5. ^ Grace, Nancy (10 January 2007). "Orlando Mother Puts Baby in Oven, Charged With Child Abuse". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  6. ^ "Woman charged after baby put in oven". The Courier-Mail. News Corporation. 11 January 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ Netter, Sarah (13 August 2009). "Muslim Parents Deny Threatening Daughter With Honor Killing Over Christianity". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Green, Amy (17 October 2009). "Teen Feared Death After Change From Islam to Christianity". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Harris, Dan; Mariecar Frias; Ayana Harry (3 September 2009). "Judge Urges Mediation in 'Honor Killing' Custody Case". Good Morning America. American Broadcasting Company. p. 3. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Miller, Joshua Rhett (21 August 2009). "Court Expected to Send Runaway Teen Home Despite Muslim Honor Killing Fears". Fox News Channel. News Corporation. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Lawyer says Crist politicized family issue". United Press International. News World Communications. 24 August 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  12. ^ Padgett, Tim (24 August 2009). "A Florida Culture-War Circus Over Rifqa Bary". Time. Time Warner. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Stutzman, Rene (10 August 2010). "Fathima Rifqa Bary turns 18, wins freedom to do as she likes". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Tribune Company. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Manes, Billy (13 January 2010). "Follow the money". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Dockery, Rubio win big in Tea Party straw poll". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Tribune Company. 15 February 2010. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Orlando Activists Rally For Arizona Immigration Law". WDBO. Orlando, Florida. Cox Communications. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010.