Friday, November 06, 2009

Judge Falcone

Mafia fighter, Judge Falcone was killed when he was going home from the airport in Polermo, Italy. Several of those who conspired to assissinate him were released from prison in March 2002, in return for cooperated with the state as "pentiti" by turning in state evidence to convict other Mafia members.

Judge Falcone in court.
In 1986 and 1987, Falcone and others presided over the "Maxi Trial" of 475 alleged Mafiosi in Palermo. The case, a parallel to the Pizza Connection trial, drew international attention by bringing the Mafia out into the open, but sadly, most of the 338 criminals convicted served little more than token sentences before being released under Italy's lax penal code, with its extremely high burden of proof. It did, however, result in the conviction of Mafia kingpin Michele Greco and, eventually, Salvatore Riina, Greco's successor from Corleone.

The Mafia's shadow, whether in the form of the drug trade, money laundering, political corruption (payoffs and kickbacks) or the pizzo (protection money), permeates every facet of the SicilianScene of the explosion near Capaci. economy, and statistically the problem is far worse in Palermo than in Catania. Giovanni Falcone knew this, and so do most Sicilians. Apart from cases of localised interest, Falcone dealt with important narcotics cases, then the Mafia's stock and trade internationally.

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