A reputed underboss in the Lucchese crime family serving a life sentence had his appeal dismissed by a federal court Thursday.
Martin R. Taccetta, 63, was originally convicted in state Superior Court of racketeering and theft charges in 1993, in a case surrounding the 1984 golf-club beating death of Ocean County businessman Vincent "Jimmy Sinatra" Craparotta.
Taccetta was acquitted on the murder charge against him, but convicted on the other counts. Since the first-degree racketeering charge involved violent crimes, a judge sentenced him to life in prison under state law.
Maintaining he had no part in the murder, Taccetta appealed the sentence for more than a decade, saying his attorney gave him bad advice on how long his prison sentence could be of convicted.
Taccetta was released from prison in December 2005, when a Superior Court judge ordered that he was entitled to a new trial. He was sent back to prison after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled against him in 2009.
On Thursday, the federal judges said Taccetta, who was challenging the constitutionality of his sentence, should continue serving that sentence.
"Taccetta has... failed to show that any constitutional tension created by the New Jersey Supreme Court's opinion violated clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court," the federal judges wrote in their opinion.
Taccetta, of East Hanover, was reputedly part of the Lucchese crime family's New Jersey branch.
At the time, the charges against Taccetta were part of the longest trial in American history, according to reports of the time. The subject became a 1995 book called "The Boys from New Jersey," by former Star-Ledger reporter Robert Rudolph.
Attorneys for Taccetta could not be reached today by phone.
Steven Yomtov, the deputy attorney general who handled the federal appeal, said Taccetta could potentially file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. But this result was gratifying, he said.
"I believe the Third Circuit reached the correct decision," Yomtov said.
Taccetta has been serving his life sentence at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton since July 2009, a corrections spokeswoman confirmed.