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January 23, 2020

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
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Featured Program

Organized Crime in the 21st Century
Last Featured: 1/1/2007

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

Most Americans may think of the Godfather or Tony Soprano when asked about organized crime. But in the last 20 years, organized crime has become a truly international phenomenon. Through corruption, blackmail and intimidation, they are evading national and international law enforcement. On this edition of Justice Talking, we will take a look at organized crime and examine whether the current law enforcement tools have kept pace with the 21st century mob.

History of the Mob, Part I
Host Margot Adler speaks with NYU law professor James Jacobs about the history of organized crime in America.

James Jacobs is Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts at New York University and director of its Center for Research in Crime and Justice. An expert on the mafia, his latest book is Mobsters, Unions and Feds.

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History of the Mob, Part II - New York
Host Margot Adler learns about the Italian mafia in New York from author Thomas Reppetto.

Thomas Reppetto is a former Chicago commander of detectives and was the president of New York City's Citizens Crime Commission for more than twenty years. He is the author of Bringing Down the Mob: The War Against the American Mafia and American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power. He lives in New York City.

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Debate on the Issue: RICO, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Former prosecutor Ronald Goldstock and defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt debate the pros and cons of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a landmark law used to prosecute the mafia.

Ronald Goldstock is an adjunct professor of law at Cornell University Law School. He served for 13 years as director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force and is the author of Corruption and Racketeering in the New York Construction Industry.

Gerald B. Lefcourt, a prominent attorney with a private practice in New York, was president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 1997-98 and the founder of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also a past president of the New York Criminal Bar Association.

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The Origins of RICO
Host Margot Adler speaks with veteran prosecutor Robert Blakey, who wrote much of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

G. Robert Blakey, considered the nation's foremost authority on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), is the William and Dorothy O'Neill Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School. Blakey's extensive legislative drafting experience resulted in the passage of the Crime Control Act of 1973, the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1970 and the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, Title IX of which is known as RICO.

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Interview with a G-Man
Host Margot Adler talks with Matt Heron about the FBI’s efforts to fight organized crime.

Matt Heron oversees the FBI's national organized crime program. He previously ran the FBI’s organized crime unit in New York.

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Report from Gangland USA - Maryland
Reporter Steve Mencher files a story from Langley Park, Maryland, where prosecutors are using RICO, a law originally designed to fight the mob, to go after a violent gang called MS-13.

How did the MS-13 gang get its name?
MS is for "Mara Salvatrucha." The word mara means gang in Salvadoran slang and is taken from marabunta, the name of a fierce type of ant. "Salvatrucha" is a combination of Salvadoran and trucha, a Salvadoran slang word for being alert, usually entailing preparedness for crime or abuse from police.

And the "13?"
According to Newsweek magazine - 13 is a gang number associated with Southern California. And some reports say that new gang recruits are beaten up by three or more gang members for 13 seconds as part of their initiation.

photo of MS-13 gang graffiti in Montgomery County, Maryland.

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Inside Men
Host Margot Adler talks with William Oldham and Guy Lawson. They wrote The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia.

William Oldham is a decorated 20-year veteran of the NYPD and a retired investigator for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Guy Lawson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose articles on war, crime, culture and law have been published widely.

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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
National Organization for Women v. Scheidler (1994)
Scheidler v. National Organization for Women (2003)
The FBI's Organized Crime Program
European Union Organised Crime Situation Report 2005 (Acrobat PDF)
Michigan State University Libraries - Organized Crime Links
La Casa Nostra in the United States
CrimProf Blog
Clews - True Crime
Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires
by Selwyn Raab
Gang Intelligence Manual: Identifying And Understanding Modern-Day Violent Gangs In The United States
by Bill Valentine
Gangster City: The History of the New York Underworld 1900-1935
by Patrick Downey
Organized Crime: An Inside Guide to the World's Most Successful Industry
by Paul Lunde
Wages Of Crime: Black Markets, Illegal Finance, And The Underworld Economy
by R.T. Naylor
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing