Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mafia Cops convictions reinstated

A federal appeals court yesterday reinstated the murder convictions of the so-called "Mafia Cops," former New York Police Department detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, according to stories in the New York Times and the New York Daily News.

Eppolito and CaracappaA jury two years ago found Caracappa (to the right of the photo) and Eppolito (to the left of the photo) guilty of racketeering conspiracy, involving mob-related murders and the leaking of information to underworld connections in the Lucchese Crime Family. Judge Jack B. Weinstein acknowledged overwhelming evidence against the two defendants and said he was prepared to sentence them to life in prison. However, the judge decided that the major racketeering-related offenses of the two men occurred outside of the five-year statute of limitations . Judge Weinstein overturned the convictions.

Prosecutors appealed the judge's decision. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yesterday that Judge Weinstein took a too-narrow view of the racketeering conspiracy and reinstated the convictions. The panel included Judges Amalya L. Kearse, Robert D. Sack and Peter W. Hall.

Caracappa, 66, and Eppolito, 60, still jailed as they awaited a decision on the appeal, are likely to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Eppolito's attorney Joseph Bondy already has promised to appeal the latest decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1980s, the two former detectives teamed up with Lucchese Crime Family lieutenant Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. They supplied Casso with information about ongoing investigations and aided him in eliminating a number of his rivals.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.