|Frank P. Balistrieri (center) walks with his sons, John (left) and Joseph, |
in the Milwaukee County Courthouse in 1975. (Sentinel Files)
8/12/2014 The bid by John J. Balistrieri, a felon and the son of Milwaukee's onetime organized crime boss, to get his law license back was shot down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday morning.
The rejection comes two years after Balistrieri applied to practice law for the second time since his 1989 release from federal prison. The court has had the matter before it since 2012 after Richard Ninneman, the attorney appointed to review the case, recommended that Balistrieri be allowed to practice law again. The court’s Office of Lawyer Regulation, however, opposed his reinstatement.
Balistrieri, 65, his older brother, Joseph, and their father, Frank, were convicted of attempted extortion in 1984 after an FBI sting and federal trial that focused on the role of organized crime in the Milwaukee vending machine business. Frank Balistrieri died in 1993 and Joseph died in 2010.
The Balistrieri brothers were each sentenced to eight years in prison, a term that was slashed to five years after they blamed their father for their wrongdoing.
In its unsigned opinion, the court wrote that it was “not averse to providing a second chance” to disbarred lawyers if they show they have changed their ways.
But, the court added: “The record in this instance, however, does not demonstrate that Attorney Balistrieri has clearly and convincingly proven that he has the required moral character to practice law, that he has a proper attitude toward society's laws and the standards imposed on members of bar, and that he is fit to represent clients and to aid in the administration of justice as a member of this state's bar.”
In fact, the court wrote that “the record reveals a pattern of a lack of acceptance of responsibility over the years that have passed since Attorney Balistrieri's conviction.”
The court noted that when Balistrieri first tried to get his license back, the court’s policing arm in 1995 recommended against allowing him to practice. Balistrieri responded by lashing out at the agency saying it “was biased against him because of his Italian heritage," the court noted Tuesday. “He attacked the integrity of the reinstatement process with a completely unsupported charge of ethnic bias.”
Justice Patience Roggensack did not participate in the decision and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote a dissent arguing that Balistrieri should be allowed to practice law.
Other of my related Mob posts:
"Mr. Fancy Pants" Balistrieri - Tracking Milwaulee's most dangerous mobster
Benjamin "Lefty Guns" Ruggerio-The real story of the "wise guy"
The Beef That Didn't Moo - Wisconsin Ties to the Mob
Tales of the Milwaukee Mob and Two Cigarette Men!
Married to the Daughter of a Milwaukee Mob Boss-Our Pediatrician!
The Milwaukee Queen Bee of Organized Crime
Tale of a Failed Milwaukee Mob Hit!
Lieutenant Uhura (of the Starship "Enterprise") - close encounters with the Chicago and Milwaukee Mob!
Part Two: The Milwaukee Mob and Lieutenant Uhura (Star Trek)
Milwaukee Mob Attorney - Tale of a Double Life
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef - Part 1
The New York Mob and Iowa Beef Processors - Part II
Sally Papia - A life lived on the edge
The Milwakee Mob Hit on Anthony Biernat
The Milwaukee Mob Hit on August Palimisano
New York's "Joe Bananas" meets Milwaukee's Frank "Mad Bomber" Balistrieri
The Life and Times of a Chicago Mafia Hit Man
From Balistrieri's Bag Man to Investigative Reporter
Louis Fazio - Milwaukee Mob Hit or Robbery?