Can someone really ever *get out* of the mafia?

Without being “sent to sleep with the fishes,” that is.

I was watching Analyze This the other night…funny flick, if a bit cartoonish. Anywho, the mafia man decides he wants out of mob life, and makes an announcement at a big Mob ShinDig that he wants to quit, but will keep all secrets with him to the grave. The others’ reaction (“Well, I don’t know. Oh, okay. Good luck!”) just seemed ridiculous.

So…can a member of the mafia ever get out of la familia? I’m not talking about someone who refuses to go into his dad’s line of work; I am specifically talking about someone who was active in it. I’m also not talking about someone turning themselves, or others, in…just someone who says “Okay, I really don’t like this and am done. Someone else be the boss now.”

Is it even slightly plausible?

You’ll never believe it, but I have personal experience with this. Well, not really, but I have a friend who could answer this question from personal experience.

I think it depends on how deeply you are in, ranking and all.
My friend sold drugs for the mafia for a couple of years.
Then he really didn’t want to do it anymore. Well, my friend is a very congenial, easy-going guy, and everybody likes him- you know the type. I can’t imagine that a guy that everybody likes would have a problem.

He just gradually drifted away, and stopped selling, and he told his bosses that he wasn’t into it anymore, and they said no problem, call us if you ever need anything. It’s been a few years.

He does admit, however, that what they know about him is a little scary. He got a call from one of them a little while after he broke up with his girlfriend and she dated another guy, less than 2 years ago.
“Hey XXXXX, what’s up? We hear you’ve been having girl trouble…the new boyfriend’s a musician right? If you want, we can go and break his hands in 27 places…”
“Um…no, that’s ok. Thanks anyway…”

It’s a little creepy, he says.


The induction into the Cosa Nostra is shrouded in quasi-religious symbolism, with blood oaths and so forth, deliberately intended to act as a “second baptism” with the local boss acting as a Roman Catholic priest. Once you’re in, you’re privy to so much that there’s no escape. In recent years, the post-1970s Cosa Nostra has also resorted to violence much more indiscriminately, since Toto Riina’s bloody rise to power and the disappearance of traditional aversion towards drug trafficking and kidnapping.

(from John Follain’s superb A Dishonoured Society)

I could be mistaken, but I think both Myer Lansky and Al Capone spent several years at the ends of their lives not actively involved in organized crime. That seems like retirement to me.

Turn around take a shot to the neck. It’ll be over before you know it, you won’t feel a thing.

From what I gather, it’s not just a problem if you’re a soldier, dealer or don. A guy like a mob lawyer can also be screwed for life.

I heard it like this- you take a case for somebody, may not even be anything major, and not for a “major player.” Word gets around that you did a good job, perhaps you get a couple of referrals. This is how business works, right? Only you are working with mobsters.

Now, this is not necessarily bad, you can represent someone without becoming attached to them, right? Not in this case. You are not just their lawyer now, you are a friend, with all the connotations therein. You are expected at christenings and weddings, etc. It can become very difficult to extricate yourself, both actually and legally. You may no longer be protected by the attorney-client relationship if it can be shown that your relationship with Guido is significantly more personal. You can even be indicted or convicted of crimes because of your association with a criminal enterprise. RICO is a beautiful thing.

A dangerous business, but also one where you can be more than half-way in before you know it, and by then it may be hard to say no. And don’t forget, these are charming, nice people who pay very well. It’s a tough call for many.

More or less, what was shared is what I figured. So…that means Hollywood lied to us? :::shock horror dismay:::

Interesting footnote…a friend in high school had once lived on the same block where a major mafia figure also lived (she didn’t say who. Safest block in the neightborhood, she said! Nobody wants to mess with them. (Although I think it would be amusing for some clumsy gang-banger to break into that house…)

Michael Corleone, The Godfather III: Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in.

Check out the hilarious movie “DONNY BRASCO”, to see what life is like for the underlings in the Mob. Not too pleasant, in my opinion, when you are on the down side. You have constant worries about gettin “whacked”-not a great way to live!

Being a Mob lawyer isn’t so bad. It can even get you elected mayor of Las Vegas these days.

Sorry, no links or names remembered on this one, too lazy to look it up…

The man who wrote the book that the movie Goodfellas was based on is still alive and well in his little Witless Protection Program. I dunno if all the guys he sold out have passed on since then, but he does interviews and shit like that all the time. I just saw him on the E! network yappin about something.

…for what it’s worth

punk snot dead,

Haven’t seen that one, but the quintessential mob “underling” movie, IMO, is Wise Guys. :smiley:

Most of that omerta and blood pledge stuff is ancient history. I’m not saying that they don’t go through the ritual or whack you if you break it while actively engaged in the business,

there was a story out, last year, mentioning several guys who had retired. It also mentioned a few guys who had originally taken witness protection, then left because the restrictions were too irksome. The story tended to indicate that after so many guys sang in the 60s and 70s that there weren’t that many secrets left to hang onto and that the business changes fast enough, now, that what you “knew” a few years ago wouldn’t be of much use to the feds.

I read it last fall or summer in print, but I found the same article, Witness Protection – Who Needs it Anymore?

You beat me to it.

Let us, for purposes of this thread, distinguish between a “mob lawyer,” like a consiglieri, and an attorney who represents accused mafia figures.

from what I hear from my relatives (Uncles who were, in fact, Mafia-men) it’s VERY hard to get out, and they never did, they just kinda… retired a little. so, I traced it back, and I am inherently in the Mafia… :smiley:

Hmmm, there is a show on this topic on the History Channel RIGHT NOW.

That was Henry Hill. I saw him on Geraldo’s daytime show and heard him on Howard Stern. I’m pretty sure he got kicked out of the program for selling drugs or doing drugs. Paulie Vario, the Paul Sorvino character, died in 1988. The De Niro character’s real name was Jimmy Gentry. When goodfellas came out, he was still alive doing life, but I think he died since then.

What about Frank Rosenthal, who was apparently closely associated with the current mayor of Las Vegas (or at least some of the mayor’s former clients)? Was he in the mob, and if so, did he successfully get out?

Ruffian- do not despair! Hollywood would never be so as to outright lie to you. Sure they let Deniro and Crystal go, but remember they were gonna get wacked in about 2 minutes?

Crystal took a bullet meant for DeNiro fired by Chazz, the other mobster.


p.s.- I’m so glad not all frenchy-spelled words are pronounced the french way- to wit, “bull-LAY” would sound dumb.