The poor mobsters are victims of the mean streets according to one Brooklyn federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Leo Glasser has sentenced reputed Colombo associate Frank "Frankie Steel" Pontillo to a laughable six months of house arrest as reported by the Daily News.
Glasser swallowed Pontillo's argument that Staten Island is so mob-infested it's impossible to spit without hitting a wise guy:
"That's a problem with people who grew up in Bensonhurt or Staten Island, spent a good part of their life in prison," Glasser said. "People they've known actually their whole adult life [are] convicted felons and members of one organized crime family or another."
Of course, the so-called criminal justice system has been notoriously 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 yet law enforcement still wonders why it can't break the back of the Mafia.