The New York Criminal Law Blog

Death Penalty for Mob Boss Too Expensive, Judge Says

Vinny Gorgeous is getting cut some slack. He may not face the death penalty, after all.  

If you follow the ongoings of the New York underworld, then you know I'm not referring to a handsome model or actor.

Vinny Gorgeous, a.k.a. Vincent Basciano, is the former head of the Bonanno crime family, one of the "five families" that governs the New York underworld. Most New York criminal defense lawyers have likely heard the name although it would appear that he hasn't hired one on his own volition.

Rather, it seems as though this mega crime-boss has been taken care of by the state, when it comes to his legal expenses.

"To date, Basciano's defense has required the expenditure of over $3 million of public funds for legal fees and ancillary expenses," a Brooklyn Federal Judge wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The letter was written by Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in an effort to convince the U.S. Attorney General to stay the execution of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano. Judge Garaufis is making the argument that the death sentence will cost the government too much money and that it may just be easier to allow Basciano to stay in prison.

Vincent Basciano, 50, is serving life in prison without parole. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. He is awaiting trial for the "mob whacking" (pardon my colloquialism) of Randolph Pizzolo in 2004 and the subsequent whacking of Frank Santoro, after the latter had threatened to kidnap Basciano's son.

While Vincent Basciano's court appointed New York criminal defense attorneys agree that the death penalty should not be sought for the mobster, there may be some deeper underlying reasons behind the Court's push to avoid the death penalty. According to the New York Daily News, Vinny Gorgeous had a hit list  drawn up, with Judge Garaufis's name on it.

While I doubt that Federal Judge's make decisions based on fear, the interplay of events does lend itself to the plot of a fantastic crime tale.    

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