How do you get out of a federal prison after being sentenced to life for participating in 11 murders ? You snitch. Salvatore Vitale was convicted in 2003 of racketeering , murder in aid of racketeering , and admitted to being involved in over 11 murders. Yesterday , a New York federal judge released him from prison and was given a time served sentence. How did he escape a life sentence ?
Mr Vitale testified against his former cronies in the Bonnanno crime family. Mr. Vitale was the key person who brought down several of the members of the crime organization over a series of trials.Vitale told prosecutors of arson , burglary, hijacking, money laundering , and a host of other crimes since his incarceration. In exchange , prosecutors filed a motion in federal court to reward him for his help.Mr. Vitale took advantage of a rule in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that allows a departure in sentencing. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines , the government can file a 5K.1 motion for a departure from his sentence for helping criminal prosecutions. Mr. Vitale took advantage of that get out of jail free card by testifying in six trials over the years.
The government asked the court to release a confessed murderer which the court granted the motion.Mr.Vitale will resume life in the free world soon.
Here is what the law is on a 5k departure;
CHAPTER 5 – PART K – DEPARTURES
1. SUBSTANTIAL ASSISTANCE TO AUTHORITIES
§5K1.1. Substantial Assistance to Authorities (Policy Statement)
Upon motion of the government stating that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense, the court may depart from the guidelines.
(a) The appropriate reduction shall be determined by the court for reasons stated that may include, but are not limited to, consideration of the following:
(1) the court’s evaluation of the significance and usefulness of the defendant’s assistance, taking into consideration the government’s evaluation of the assistance rendered;
(2) the truthfulness, completeness, and reliability of any information or testimony provided by the defendant;
(3) the nature and extent of the defendant’s assistance;
(4) any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the defendant or his family resulting from his assistance;
(5) the timeliness of the defendant’s assistance.