Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Four Chicago mob figures and a former cop appeal their convictions, raising issues about the jury in the Family Secrets trial

Chicago Outfit Roller DerbyA federal appellate judge expressed concern Monday about the handling of juror issues during the sweeping Family Secrets trial, the high-profile prosecution against several Chicago Outfit bosses for 18 decades-old gangland murders.
The discussion came as attorneys for four mob figures and a former Chicago police officer argued for new trials before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The criminal-defense lawyers faulted U.S. District Judge James Zagel for failing to inform lawyers on both sides during the trial after a juror expressed concern about her safety. The lawyers only learned of the issue weeks later when Zagel excused the juror, the attorneys said.
The five defendants — Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, a legendary mob figure: Frank Calabrese Sr., a feared Outfit hit man; James Marcello, allegedly a onetime top mob boss; Paul "The Indian" Schiro, another reputed mob figure; and former Chicago police Officer Anthony "Twan" Doyle — were convicted of racketeering conspiracy in 2007. Calabrese, Lombardo and Marcello were held responsible for a combined 10 murders and sentenced to life in prison.
A panel of three appellate judges heard oral arguments in their appeals Monday.
While questioning a federal prosecutor, U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Wood said she thought there were problems with how Zagel handled the juror issue.
"I think there's a real problem with the way the trial judge approached it," Wood said. "Having all of these private chats … leaves the record woefully (lacking)."
Wood went on to say that she found it "remarkable" that the judge seemed to be "wandering in and out of the juror room" during the trial.
But Judge Richard Posner, however, continually queried Lombardo's attorney, Francis Lipuma, about how the dismissal of the juror prejudiced his client's case, telling him, "I don't get it."
In response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Fullerton also argued that the government did not believe this showed a "pattern of prejudice" that would have affected the outcome of the trial.
Lipuma argued that the incident was just one part of a broader problem with how Zagel handled the jury.
"This is not Judge Zagel's jury. This is not the government's jury. It's Mr. Lombardo's jury … as well as the rest of the defendants' [jury]," he said.
Lipuma also argued that Lombardo was prejudiced by not having a separate trial from Calabrese. Lipuma said Calabrese's conduct during the trial hurt the other defendants. During closing arguments at the trial, a juror reported seeing Calabrese mouth a threat to a prosecutor. Lipuma also mentioned that Calabrese made loud grunting or moaning noises and other outbursts at other points during the trial.
Marcello's lawyer, Marc Martin, contended that prosecutors violated double-jeopardy protections by using the same evidence against Marcello at the 2007 trial that was used to convict him in 1993 in another organized-crime prosecution.



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