Brooklyn Federal Judge Dora Irizarry was postively gushing when she sentenced alleged Gambino associate Emmanuel "Manny" Garofalo on Friday. Although Garofalo faced 30 months in prison on his extortion conviction she instead gave him 300 hours of community service, and "said she was deeply moved by letters from the defendant's neighbors praising the good works of Garofalo, whose brother Edward was slain by former Gambino underboss Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News. Federal prosecutors wanted prison time for Garofalo. Of course, Garofalo "was ecstatic with the sentence," and "vehemently denied being a mobster" as reported by Rich Schapiro and Kerry Wills for the Daily News.
This isn't the first break that Judge Irizarry has cut for an alleged mob defendant.
In 2009 Judge Irizarry ruled over the objection of prosecutors that reputed Colombo associate Dominick "Black Dom" Dionisio could "keep his job at the trendy Lucali pizzeria in Carroll Gardens" while "awaiting trial for racketeering, including charges that he and another mobster shot at two rivals in broad daylight during the Colombo mob wars in the 1990s" as then reported by Kati Cornell for the New York Post.
At the time of her nomination to the federal bench in 2003 the American Bar Association rated Irizarry as unqualified for the job as then reported by Raymond Hernandez for The New York Times: "Patricia M. Hynes, who has looked into the background of judicial nominees for the American Bar Association in the past, said that until the Irizarry case, she had 'never before experienced such widespread and consistent negative comments about a nominee's temperament.'''
Perhaps Judge Irizarry simply is pulling a page from the sentencing playbook of fellow jurist Jack Weinstein on the Brooklyn federal court.Earlier this year Judge Weinstein sentenced reputed Genovese associate and food caterer Frank DiMattina to six years in prison on extortion and gun convictions but otherwise has allowed him to remain free pending the lengthy appeals process as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News: "the judge was concerned that ordering DiMattina to begin serving the sentence immediately might jeopardize the jobs of 60 employees of DiMattina’s catering hall, Ariana’s Grand, in Woodbridge, N.J."
Weinstein employed similar reasoning in 2008 when he spared reputed Gambino soldier and Brooklyn restaurateur Joseph Chirico from prison on a money laundering conviction as then reported by Kati Cornell for the New York Post: "Judge Jack Weinstein said he was hesitant to cut Chirico a break, but wanted to ensure Chirico's workers stay employed."
The criminal justice system has been relatively lenient with organized crime for decades.
In 2008 nearly 100 suspected mobsters were rounded up pursuant to a joint federal and local investigation dubbed Operation Pathfinder, and "yet only 17 of the 62 men charged in federal court remain behind bars" as reported by Alan Feuer for The New York Times:
Eighteen have finished their prison terms — some less than a year in length. Five received time served and periods of supervised release, and 21 were sentenced to probation or community service. The results were similar among those charged in state court in Queens; 18 of the 26 defendants never saw prison, having received either time served in jail or a conditional discharge, in which charges are dropped if the defendants' proverbial noses remain clean.
Similarly, in 1971 the New York State Joint Legislative Committee on Crime "conducted a study of 1,762 cases in state courts in the years 1960 through 1969 involving organized crime figures," and the results were shocking as reported by Nicholas Gage in a September 25, 1972 article ("Study Shows Courts Lenient With Mafiosi") for The New York Times:
The committee, whose chairman is Senator John H. Hughes of Syracuse, found that the rate of dismissals and acquittals for racketeers was five times that of other defendants. In New York City, 44.7 per cent of indictments against members of organized crime were dismissed by Supreme Court judges during the ten year period. Only 11.5 per cent of indictments against all defendants were dismissed, according to the study. In 193 instances where organized crime figures were actually convicted, the study showed that judges let the defendants off with suspended sentences or fines in 46 per cent of the cases.
And the good citizens wonder why the mob can't be broken.