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Cicale's Letter About Sentencing of Basciano's Son

Dominick Cicale, the former captain in the Bonanno crime family who was a government witness against Vincent Basciano Sr., wrote a letter to Manhattan federal judge Richard J. Sullivan dated July 3 in which he beseeched the jurist to not send Basciano's son Joseph to prison. The letter was sent after Joseph got a six month sentence in prison for marijuana trafficking, a sentence below the federal guidelines.

In Cicale's view, such a sentence would do disservice to Joseph in that once he was in prison "mobsters will convince him that he's a very important person...This good man will walk out of federal prison feeling that he is the next John Gotti." To take Joseph away from the possible enticement into the life of organized crime, Cicale asked Sullivan to revise he sentence, perhaps considering Joseph entering the armed service. "It will open his eyes to the world and not keep him in the grasp of the criminal underworld," Cicale said in his letter.

Cicale's letter was reported in the New York Post and on the website In the latter, Cicale was quoted as wondering how his letter, which was meant to be confidential to the judge, became public. The answer is simple. Sullivan signed an order on July 7 in which he acknowledged getting the letter and ordered his clerk to place it on the public docket, making it a public record There is no indication in the body of the letter that it was to be kept confidential.

While Cicale seems to be looking out in his own way for Joseph's interests, he may be underestimating the Basciano son. Surveillance tape transcripts, of recordings made many months ago, which were filed in the case indicate that Joseph was edging away from a life of violence. The younger Basciano may have seen the light on his own about the futliity of mob life.

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