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Sons of Italy® Honors Memory of Fallen Mafia Foe Giovanni Falcone at U.S. Supreme Court

Washington, D.C. - November 2, 2009 A delegation of national leaders from the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) joined Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito at a tribute to the Italian prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, who was murdered by a Sicilian crime syndicate in 1992.

The seminar, entitled The Impact of Italian Judge Giovanni Falcone on American Society, was held at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., October 29. It was organized and coordinated under the auspices of the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and its Attaché for Justice Affairs Judge Giannicola Sinisi, in collaboration with U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Federal Circuit Arthur J. Gajarsa.

"This collaborative program is intended to launch a new and broader collaboration between the federal judiciaries of Italy and the U.S.," says Judge Gajarsa.

Representing OSIA, the oldest and largest national organization in the U.S. for people of Italian heritage, were National President Joseph Di Trapani, National Financial Secretary and former DEA/Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Rome Frank J. Panessa, and National Executive Director Philip R. Piccigallo.

Participants in the seminar included Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; former FBI Director Judge William Sessions; Italy's Ambassador to the U.S. Giulio Terzi; and numerous high ranking dignitaries from the Italian and U.S. governments and the FBI.

Other speakers included Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole, and Italy's Undersecretary of the State Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vincenzo Scotti and former Minister of Justice Claudio Martelli.

Falcone, a long-time foe of international criminal organizations who often collaborated with the FBI, died near Palermo May 23, 1992, with his wife in a car bombing perpetrated by La Cosa Nostra, a local crime syndicate. His investigations and the reaction to his death by law enforcement agencies as well as by the general public profoundly weakened Sicily's criminal organizations. The FBI assisted in investigating and prosecuting Falcone's assassins.

"Judge Falcone's investigative techniques set an example for a generation of prosecutors and judges," says OSIA's Di Trapani. "His life and legacy generated universal veneration, enhanced international cooperation and major advancements along the road to defeating organized crime."

Established in 1905, OSIA has more than 500,000 family members and supporters and a network of more than 650 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To learn more, visit www.osia.org.