thumbnail of McLaughlin's Beat; No. 312; Tommy Trantino: Ten More Years
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<v John McLaughlin>Good evening, I'm John McGlocklin. <v John McLaughlin>We're here at the correction center in Yardville for next half hour. <v John McLaughlin>I'll be talking to Tommy Trantino, who has been in prison for 19 years. <v John McLaughlin>For his part in the slaying of two Lodi policeman, he lost  his most recent round <v John McLaughlin>with the state parole board, which means he'll probably be here for another five years <v John McLaughlin>and maybe as many as 10. <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, thanks for agreeing to talk with us. <v Tom Trantino>Thank you. <v John McLaughlin>As far as I know, this is the first time that you've- you're willing to talk publicly <v John McLaughlin>about this parole board decision. <v John McLaughlin>So why don't you just talk to me for a couple of minutes and tell me how you feel about <v John McLaughlin>it? <v Tom Trantino>Well, I'm very hurt and upset by it, <v Tom Trantino>not only for myself and the disappointment <v Tom Trantino>and the injustice that I feel has happened to me, <v Tom Trantino>but for what it has done to my family and what I think <v Tom Trantino>it does to society on the whole. <v Tom Trantino>What is being done to me is not an isolated
<v Tom Trantino>incident. And I while I am an extreme example of <v Tom Trantino>what is going on, I'm not an exception to the rule. <v Tom Trantino>I am what is the rule. <v Tom Trantino>There are hundreds upon hundreds of prisoners in this <v Tom Trantino>state, in the prisons and the county jails are being held <v Tom Trantino>beyond their legal dates that they're required to stay <v Tom Trantino>in prison because of the parole board's actions. <v John McLaughlin>Well, let's let's let's walk through your case a little, because it's it's a little bit <v John McLaughlin>complicated, to say the least. You were first eligible for parole in 1979, <v John McLaughlin>right? <v Tom Trantino>Actually, it was 1977. <v Tom Trantino>And the parole board found a way of making me do two extra <v Tom Trantino>years before I was able to see the parole board again. <v John McLaughlin>But you were initially rejected. And then finally in 1980, the board granted you <v John McLaughlin>parole with the proviso that you pay restitution to the families of the two dead <v John McLaughlin>policemen, then that the assignment <v John McLaughlin>judge in Bergen County was supposed to set the amount of that restitution.
<v John McLaughlin>He said restitution is not applicable in a murder case that <v John McLaughlin>was upheld by the appellate division. <v John McLaughlin>And then the case went up to the Supreme Court. <v John McLaughlin>The Supreme Court said restitution is fine, but <v John McLaughlin>the parole board ought to reconsider Trantino's case. <v John McLaughlin>So they remanded that the case back to the parole board. <v John McLaughlin>Then what happened? Why did a parole board turn it down? <v Tom Trantino>Well, the parole board turned me down on the basis of <v Tom Trantino>a psychological report, which they quoted out of context <v Tom Trantino>without citing the conclusions of that <v Tom Trantino>report or any other psychological report that was made on me <v Tom Trantino>over the last 20 years in prison. <v John McLaughlin>But you've been psychoanalyzed five times now in terms of your parole eligibility. <v John McLaughlin>And each time, as far as I can think about, the answer comes out the same way <v John McLaughlin>that you're not a threat to society and that you, that you could be released and
<v John McLaughlin>that you wouldn't commit another crime. <v John McLaughlin>But why the parole board did what it did in writing that decision? <v John McLaughlin>I don't really know because they had lots of other options. <v John McLaughlin>They could have said that we're what we're doing is what the Supreme Court told <v John McLaughlin>us to do was to reconsider Trantino in terms of whether he's been punished enough. <v John McLaughlin>No, he hasn't been punished enough. Therefore, he's got to stay in jail for 10 more <v John McLaughlin>years. <v Tom Trantino>Right. Well, if I may comment first on the 10 year part of it. <v Tom Trantino>The parole board became like a sentencing court in my case. <v Tom Trantino>This has never happened before in the history of this state, in the history <v Tom Trantino>of any state in the United States, in the history of South <v Tom Trantino>Africa or even Russia, John. <v Tom Trantino>They sentenced me to 10 years more. <v Tom Trantino>And I've got almost 20 years in prison with the stipulation that I do a minimum <v Tom Trantino>of five years before I'm eligible to be heard again. <v Tom Trantino>And who's to say that when I go back in five years or whenever
<v Tom Trantino>they don't give me another 10, 10 years, 20 years, 100 years or whatever they want to do, <v Tom Trantino>they are not following the law. <v Tom Trantino>Recently in an article in the Newark Star Ledger, <v Tom Trantino>this thing about the article was revealed. <v Tom Trantino>This thing about the psychological report that was used as a basis <v Tom Trantino>deny to deny me parole was revealed here. <v Tom Trantino>And the parole board chairman himself admitted that what the parole <v Tom Trantino>board did was unforgivable, what they did was wrong. <v Tom Trantino>So I want to ask you a question now. <v Tom Trantino>Why am I being punished again still <v Tom Trantino>for what the parole board does wrong? <v Tom Trantino>I have committed no crimes in 20 years, John. <v Tom Trantino>I want to really deal with that question you asked me, it's an important question. <v Tom Trantino>Because I'm not the only person that this happens to. <v Tom Trantino>There are many men in prison who are just like I am, who don't hurt people,
<v Tom Trantino>who help people who are doing more time because of some <v Tom Trantino>arbitrary reasons that the parole board decides to use. <v John McLaughlin>But but the Supreme Court said that the board should consider <v John McLaughlin>that kind of a crime it was, there were two policemen who were executed <v John McLaughlin>on their knees begging for their lives. <v John McLaughlin>That's that's a ho- is a horrible crime. <v Tom Trantino>Every crime is horrible. <v Tom Trantino>All murders are horrible and heinous. <v Tom Trantino>They are not they are not different than the crimes that happen to police. <v Tom Trantino>But again, the Supreme Court was misquoted <v Tom Trantino>by the parole board in its decision. <v Tom Trantino>The chairman lied about this. <v Tom Trantino>The Supreme Court didn't tell them to give me 10 years to punish <v Tom Trantino>me. They told them to reexamine my case, to see <v Tom Trantino>if the punitive aspects of my crime <v Tom Trantino>and my sentence had been satisfied. <v John McLaughlin>Well did you get the extra 10 years because every time your case comes up, hundreds of
<v John McLaughlin>policemen come out and demonstrate because the families of the two dead officers talk to <v John McLaughlin>the newspapers. <v Tom Trantino>No, that's not why the police come out. <v Tom Trantino>The police don't come out because of the families, nor did the families come <v Tom Trantino>out because of the crime directly. <v Tom Trantino>They came out because of lies and distortions about this crime <v Tom Trantino>and my participation in it. <v Tom Trantino>There were many lies which were only recently retracted <v Tom Trantino>by the media and by the PBA itself in regard to this crime. <v Tom Trantino>This is why the police demonstrated in front of a court of law <v Tom Trantino>in the state of New Jersey that was is supposed to be <v Tom Trantino>fairly and objectively adjudicating a case shouting <v Tom Trantino>kill because they were told lies about me. <v Tom Trantino>There was a person right on your show when I was on with him two years <v Tom Trantino>ago who admitted to lying to his own police about this.
<v John McLaughlin>The lies are as follows and that the two officers <v John McLaughlin>were made were forced to commit sex acts on you and your partner, Frank Falco, <v John McLaughlin>that policemen were urinated upon. <v John McLaughlin>[Tom Trantino: Right.] And there were. But but so much. <v John McLaughlin>Let's assume that that didn't happen. They were, in fact beaten. <v Tom Trantino>It's not an assumption. It did not happen according to the state, to the <v Tom Trantino>facts adduced by the state itself, separate from my involvement <v Tom Trantino>and participation in whatever happened that night. <v John McLaughlin>What- you have never admitted this crime? <v John McLaughlin>It seems to me it's a big product-. <v Tom Trantino>I didn't admit the crime because I di-. <v Tom Trantino>That is my problem, John. I didn't admit the crime because I did not commit <v Tom Trantino>the crime. However, John, I have never lied about <v Tom Trantino>my participation in a crime that evening. <v Tom Trantino>And I should be punished for what I did, not for what I didn't <v Tom Trantino>do. Now I've been punished, I was sent to the death house, forced to spend nine <v Tom Trantino>years in solitary confinement under a sentence of death.
<v Tom Trantino>And I'm still in prison for something that I did not actually do. <v Tom Trantino>I'm being punished and I was punished for something I did not do. <v John McLaughlin>Why didn't you take the easy way out and just lie about it? <v John McLaughlin>Say yea, I did do it, you might be out of here by -. <v Tom Trantino>Yes, I could do that. And my family and many friends, many <v Tom Trantino>people call me just say you did it. <v Tom Trantino>They'll let you go. Bow your head, bend the knee. <v Tom Trantino>Submit to them. But there is something more important. <v Tom Trantino>And believe me, John, you think that I don't want to come home. <v Tom Trantino>I want to come home with my whole heart and soul. <v Tom Trantino>And I certainly have thought about it and I just can't do it. <v Tom Trantino>There's something more important here than Tommy Trantino <v Tom Trantino>or Tommy Trantino's case or the case at Bar. <v Tom Trantino>It's what this case represents to this system. <v Tom Trantino>It is a very difficult case. <v Tom Trantino>And there have been people who are who have sworn to uphold the laws of this state, <v Tom Trantino>who will break the laws of the state because of hysteria,
<v Tom Trantino>because of distortions of facts. <v Tom Trantino>And this does not allow me to have a fair adjudication. <v John McLaughlin>Tom, are you 100 percent sure you didn't commit that murder? <v John McLaughlin>You and Frank Falco were in the bar? <v John McLaughlin>[Tom Trantino: Yes.] You had been drinking and taking uppers for something like 12 hours, <v John McLaughlin>maybe 14 hours. [Tom Trantino: Yes.] OK. <v John McLaughlin>The two policemen came in and you admit that you helped disarm, one <v John McLaughlin>of them. <v John McLaughlin>And then you say that Falco did- shot the two <v John McLaughlin>policemen. <v Tom Trantino>No, I don't say that Falco shot them. <v Tom Trantino>[inaudible] fact let the facts of the case. <v Tom Trantino>I say that I left before there was a murder committed. <v John McLaughlin>Are you sure you left before it? <v Tom Trantino>I know. I did not kill anyone. <v Tom Trantino>If, John, people I have been tried by the media <v Tom Trantino>retried over and over again by the media, and I'm not trying <v Tom Trantino>to attack you in any way or any individuals, I know it's a difficult thing. <v Tom Trantino>The parole board has retried me over and over again.
<v Tom Trantino>I have sought a new trial for 20 years. <v Tom Trantino>Why don't they just give me a new trial and allow the facts- <v Tom Trantino>I'm not afraid for the facts of the case to emerge, to allow <v Tom Trantino>these facts to be weighed fairly and impartially, not in the sensationalistic <v Tom Trantino>way, not in a way where the community-,. <v John McLaughlin>A lot of the witnesses or some of the witnesses are probably dead or gone. <v Tom Trantino>But the witnesses, as far as I know, are not dead. <v Tom Trantino>They're all alive and would have to be made available. <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, when you come up again. <v John McLaughlin>In either 1987 or 1992, do you expect this to happen to you again? <v Tom Trantino>Yes. I don't expect- [John McLaughlin: Do you expect to be here?] I don't expect I have a <v Tom Trantino>life sentence, John. And if they gave me six months at a time to bleed me <v Tom Trantino>that way or 10 years at a time, as they're starting to do now, giving me parole, <v Tom Trantino>taking it away, it doesn't seem to make any difference. <v Tom Trantino>The parole board is a state agency.
<v Tom Trantino>It's violated its trust and they will not <v Tom Trantino>grant me my rights. <v Tom Trantino>The justice that I merit, John, I hurt no one. <v Tom Trantino>I, I help people. <v Tom Trantino>In all my years in prison have not raised my hand to a human being. <v Tom Trantino>Why is this being done to me? <v Tom Trantino>Well, why are you saying I have to keep turning around the questions that are asked <v Tom Trantino>of me? What? Even if what you said yourself. <v Tom Trantino>Let us assume that the implications of your earlier question <v Tom Trantino>was that I did commit this crime. <v Tom Trantino>Let us say that I did. <v Tom Trantino>And so I committed a murder. <v Tom Trantino>And that's a serious crime. I don't deny that. <v Tom Trantino>But there are laws in this state and the laws say that everyone must be treated <v Tom Trantino>fairly and impartially and equally. <v Tom Trantino>There are others who have been committed, convicted of the same crimes <v Tom Trantino>that I have been convicted of, who are home, who were in the death house with me
<v Tom Trantino>for the same crimes or worse, who even had more <v Tom Trantino>bodies or more time. <v Tom Trantino>And they have been released on parole. <v John McLaughlin>But the board, it seems to me, at least at one point, wanted to let you out. <v Tom Trantino>They did parole me on a number of occasions. <v Tom Trantino>This is what is so unjust and <v Tom Trantino>crazy about the whole thing. <v Tom Trantino>I was paroled on a number of occasions. <v Tom Trantino>The parole was later rescinded. <v John McLaughlin>Is that political pressure? <v Tom Trantino>That I-I think there is no question there is political pressure. <v Tom Trantino>If you remember a few years ago when I was going up for parole, <v Tom Trantino>John Degnan was the attorney general of New Jersey. <v Tom Trantino>He was running for governor. <v Tom Trantino>He was wanted to take a strong stance on crime. <v Tom Trantino>Here I was readily available to be used <v Tom Trantino>as a whipping boy for an issue that deeply concerns the public. <v Tom Trantino>And he sent a letter to the parole board.
<v Tom Trantino>Right while I was in there with a state trooper to tell the parole <v Tom Trantino>board interfering with a legal procedure that was going <v Tom Trantino>on to tell them not to give me parole. <v John McLaughlin>Tom are you uh, you're suggesting here that you may stay in jail for the rest of your <v John McLaughlin>life.[Tom: yes] How are you going to handle that psychologically? <v Tom Trantino>John, in a way, unfortunately, I don't like to speak about it, because <v Tom Trantino>then it gives people the opportunity who want to punish me and make me suffer <v Tom Trantino>a greater impetus to continue to make me suffer and punish me. <v Tom Trantino>I can deal with anything now after what I've been through in my life and <v Tom Trantino>the things that I've seen and all that, I do not <v Tom Trantino>want to harm myself. I do not want to harm other people. <v Tom Trantino>I have learned how to deal with my problems and the problems <v Tom Trantino>that are around me. And I work to try to solve those problems so I could deal with <v Tom Trantino>it no matter what is done to me. I was able to deal with the death house.
<v Tom Trantino>I'm intact. I'm a human being. <v John McLaughlin>How do how do other prisoners here react to you? <v John McLaughlin>Do they they resent the fact that you're something of a celebrity? <v Tom Trantino>No, no, no, I don't. I'm not a celebrity. <v Tom Trantino>I don't consider myself a celebrity. <v Tom Trantino>And I will not let other prisoners consider me as a celebrity. <v Tom Trantino>I work very hard here. <v Tom Trantino>I work I was called a psychopath by by the parole board here. <v Tom Trantino>And yet I'm assigned to work with juveniles in this prison. <v Tom Trantino>Person- young men who have very serious problems. <v Tom Trantino>I counsel them. <v Tom Trantino>This is what the state corrections authorities know <v Tom Trantino>about me. What I'm capable of doing. <v Tom Trantino>[John: But you don't-] how I really am. <v John McLaughlin>You don't really do what they would like you to do, which is to take part in these <v John McLaughlin>rehabilitation programs, which are not run by prisoners, which are run by by the system. <v John McLaughlin>You won't do that. <v Tom Trantino>That's not true. That is also a distortion of what is the truth. <v Tom Trantino>First of all, I spent nine years on death row. <v Tom Trantino>There was nothing there at all except the
<v Tom Trantino>insanity of that confinement. <v Tom Trantino>I was then released to Roarway. There were what programs, you tell me about <v Tom Trantino>rehabilitation programs there were then. <v Tom Trantino>What programs are there now? This is one of the things that I and so many other prisoners <v Tom Trantino>labor very hard to do. And we don't work against officers <v Tom Trantino>here or staff members here or the politics of things. <v Tom Trantino>We try to work in ways to solve a problem that we know confronts <v Tom Trantino>everyone. And we want real programs. <v Tom Trantino>We don't want this that the public is continuously lied to. <v Tom Trantino>The overwhelming majority of people in prison need not be in prison. <v Tom Trantino>I'm sorry, John. That's the truth. <v Tom Trantino>They hurt no one. They are being kept here for political reasons. <v Tom Trantino>The economy is rotten and you don't want young men on the streets. <v Tom Trantino>They're building more prisons to get them off the streets. <v Tom Trantino>There's a very definite threat that people in power <v Tom Trantino>in the system feel here and they are punishing.
<v Tom Trantino>As usual, the poor and the working class people of this state. <v John McLaughlin>But it's true, is it not, that the great many prisoners who were released from places <v John McLaughlin>like Yardville and Rahway go out and do it again? <v Tom Trantino>Unfortunatly, I did-, John. I am a victim of this system, <v Tom Trantino>too. I did time in New York before this <v Tom Trantino>for a robbery. I was a dope addict, all of those things. <v Tom Trantino>And I did do those crimes. <v Tom Trantino>And what the system did was grind me up and turn me into <v Tom Trantino>a no good person. <v Tom Trantino>I was worse when I came out than when I went in. <v Tom Trantino>The system is not geared to helping people solve their <v Tom Trantino>problems. Their sole purpose is to control <v Tom Trantino>the sardines in these cans. <v John McLaughlin>Ok, but you've solved-. You solved your own psychological problems, haven't you? <v John McLaughlin>To your own satisfaction? <v Tom Trantino>I've had to. I've been a very, I'm blessed by God. <v Tom Trantino>I'm blessed that I have a family and many friends who support me
<v Tom Trantino>and help me and who love me and who care about me. <v Tom Trantino>That is an exception in prison. <v Tom Trantino>Most of the men here have no families have no one who cares about them <v Tom Trantino>at all. <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, when you went up to the last hearing before the parole board, you had an <v John McLaughlin>opportunity to present witnesses on your behalf and you didn't do that. <v John McLaughlin>Why not? <v Tom Trantino>No, because I made a presentation. <v Tom Trantino>I didn't. I didn't. It was a farce. <v Tom Trantino>What was that to do? All of that evidence was a sensational <v Tom Trantino>attempt by the parole board to distort the facts of the case. <v Tom Trantino>I have always comported with the law, with the standards my attorneys <v Tom Trantino>have. My friends have. I'm a media person, too, John. <v Tom Trantino>I have access to the media directly and indirectly. <v Tom Trantino>I felt that that was would be inappropriate <v Tom Trantino>to do. I have many famous people, so-called real celebrities. <v Tom Trantino>That's why I'm not a celebrity who would be more than happy to testify, who have <v Tom Trantino>supported me in the past. And would continue to.
<v John McLaughlin>Was it because you figured you were going to lose in any event? <v Tom Trantino>No. No, I didn't. No, I actually believe I was so naive, <v Tom Trantino>even after 20 years, that there's such a thing as justice in this world and that I would <v Tom Trantino>get justice regardless, that I wanted only to argue the facts <v Tom Trantino>and not be diverted by things that had no substance or importance <v Tom Trantino>or relevance. <v John McLaughlin>You've been married since you've been in jail. <v John McLaughlin>How often do you get to see your wife? <v Tom Trantino>Once a week. <v John McLaughlin>She comes here? <v Tom Trantino>She comes here in the crowded, inhuman conditions that <v Tom Trantino>exist here and not through anybody's fault, but for the reasons I said these problems <v Tom Trantino>are very serious. John, I hate to keep harping on them to you. <v Tom Trantino>The problems that the parole board is presenting to me are <v Tom Trantino>presented to the system. <v Tom Trantino>It's not just me. It's many men and women and juveniles in the entire <v Tom Trantino>system. They cannot provide rehabilitation programs. <v Tom Trantino>Now, they can't provide the space that's necessary because these places
<v Tom Trantino>are overflowing. They are coming out through the cracks here. <v John McLaughlin>What about the old penal code versus the new penal code? <v John McLaughlin>It's a big factor in your case. The court said that because your crime was committed <v John McLaughlin>prior to 1979 when the new penal code went into effect, that the board <v John McLaughlin>could apply the old standards to you. They could make a judgment as to whether you had <v John McLaughlin>been punished enough. Now, when when someone is convicted of a crime and sentenced, <v John McLaughlin>he gets a date certain, a firm date for his parole. <v John McLaughlin>And unless the state can prove that he's substantial, a substantial risk to society, <v John McLaughlin>he goes free. <v John McLaughlin>How did the prisoners feel about the new rule? Are they satisfied with that? <v Tom Trantino>Not any longer. Because what they're doing to me is scaring other prisoners. <v Tom Trantino>They say that the laws are saying one thing and is supposed <v Tom Trantino>to be following the laws this way. It's supposed to be a more progressive way, <v Tom Trantino>intelligent way to deal with problems. <v Tom Trantino>And people are being punished and doing more time actually now. <v Tom Trantino>But they're not being released at the time
<v Tom Trantino>they're supposed to be released. And what they're doing to me, imagine how all the other <v Tom Trantino>lifers in this system feel. Imagine how all the other men in this system who <v Tom Trantino>are doing a lot of time, feel. <v Tom Trantino>This could happen to them. You think it's going to stop with me? <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, if you had been sentenced under a new penal code, would probably have to do a <v John McLaughlin>minimum of 40 years in jail. Do you agree with that? <v Tom Trantino>No. <v John McLaughlin>Well, you would've gotten-. <v Tom Trantino>This is a preposterous assumption that the chairman of the parole <v Tom Trantino>board is making. First of all, it's just like saying that I would have been convicted <v Tom Trantino>on two separate counts of murder and would have to have done 50 years or whatever. <v Tom Trantino>How do they know I would be convicted? <v Tom Trantino>How do they know-. <v John McLaughlin>Because you were convicted in 1963. <v Tom Trantino>No. But why was I convicted? <v Tom Trantino>I was not convicted fairly. <v Tom Trantino>I was railroaded, John. I have never ceased from making that <v Tom Trantino>point. And I am not condemning this. <v Tom Trantino>The criminal justice system in New Jersey, they wre very- please <v Tom Trantino>let me make this point. I'm sorry, John.
<v Tom Trantino>They're very honest people in this system. <v Tom Trantino>I have met them. I know they're honest and believe in justice and damatic- <v Tom Trantino>democratic principles of law. <v Tom Trantino>But they have allowed hysteria, as <v Tom Trantino>has happened in many serious cases, to overcome their better judgment. <v Tom Trantino>And they've allowed a small group of people who I feel are corrupt and <v Tom Trantino>ignorant and incompetent and insecure to <v Tom Trantino>presumptively take away the rights of everyone endanger the <v Tom Trantino>system itself and society. <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, you didn't necessarily get an unfair trial. There were witnesses at the trial who <v John McLaughlin>testified that you were there when the shooting occurred. <v Tom Trantino>Soviet Russia could learn a lot from what happened to me <v Tom Trantino>at my trial. <v Tom Trantino>There were these lies put out about me. <v Tom Trantino>Nooses were hung. I was hung in effigy. <v Tom Trantino>There are people trying to kill me. <v Tom Trantino>I was isolated from everyone. <v John McLaughlin>That's why you surrendered, wasn't it? Because-. <v Tom Trantino>No, I surrendered to fate.
<v Tom Trantino>People didn't say I killed anyone until I surrendered. <v Tom Trantino>I surrendered to face the charges that were lodged against me, not because I was afraid <v Tom Trantino>of anything. I really have confidence in <v Tom Trantino>the idea of justice. And law. <v John McLaughlin>Why weren't you afraid? Your partner was shot to death in a Manhattan hotel room by half <v John McLaughlin>a dozen cops. <v Tom Trantino>He was. He was not shot to death. <v Tom Trantino>He was murdered. And that's an interesting point too how that has been <v Tom Trantino>ignored by the media and people in authority. <v Tom Trantino>He was murdered. The American Civil Liberties Union and many others scream <v Tom Trantino>bloody murder, literally when he was murdered, was shot about 18 <v Tom Trantino>times. <v John McLaughlin>He was unarmed. <v Tom Trantino>And they said he was unarmed and they demanded an investigation. <v Tom Trantino>And Governor Rockefeller, who brought you the Rockefeller laws, the draconian <v Tom Trantino>laws in New York, and former Mayor Wagner and Police Commissioner Murphy <v Tom Trantino>all hit the media saying, what are you worried about this murderer? <v Tom Trantino>What about these cops? Which is a totally diversion
<v Tom Trantino>from reality and the issues that took place. <v Tom Trantino>So his murder is still an unsolved murder. <v Tom Trantino>Why was that murder allowed to go unpunished? <v Tom Trantino>Why? I must ask to again, it refers to what is being done to me. <v Tom Trantino>People were chanting, kill, kill me. <v Tom Trantino>These are policemen. But I don't blame them. <v Tom Trantino>They were lied to. Why? <v Tom Trantino>These are terroristic acts. <v Tom Trantino>Who is punishing these people? <v Tom Trantino>Who polices the police? [John: Gloria-] who judges, the judges? <v John McLaughlin>Gloria Soto, who was a member of the parole board, said of you that <v John McLaughlin>one has to wonder how much anger is seething inside of Tommy Trentino and what <v John McLaughlin>would result from that. How angry are you? <v Tom Trantino>I'm not an angry man. I'm not an embittered man. <v Tom Trantino>My life is literally an open book. <v Tom Trantino>I've lived a goldfish bowl existence for 20 years. <v Tom Trantino>People have observed me. I don't use drugs. <v Tom Trantino>I don't use alcohol. I have not had one incident of violence
<v Tom Trantino>throughout my stay in prison under the most inhuman <v Tom Trantino>criminal conditions imaginable. <v John McLaughlin>What do you do to keep your head together, Tommy? Do you do yoga? <v Tom Trantino>I- no. I do meditate myself. <v Tom Trantino>I have my own form of meditation. I do review my daily activities. <v Tom Trantino>At the end of each day before I come out of my cell in the morning, I talk <v Tom Trantino>to myself, which is supposed to be crazy. <v Tom Trantino>Maybe that's why they say I'm crazy. <v Tom Trantino>I get answers, too. And my answer is that I am a good person <v Tom Trantino>and I do good. And that's what I do, John. <v Tom Trantino>And the proof is in the pudding, which seems to be unconstitutional as somebody once <v Tom Trantino>said. <v John McLaughlin>You once saved the life of a young child while you were in prison. <v John McLaughlin>Tell me how that happened. <v Tom Trantino>Well, it was not actually while I was in prison. <v Tom Trantino>It occurred while I was at Wharton Track, which is a full minimum facility, <v Tom Trantino>and before rec trips were abolished because of someone escaping <v Tom Trantino>from Yardville, actually, we were permitted to go out on rec trips
<v Tom Trantino>from the full minimum facilities and it would take guys to the mall or in the summer <v Tom Trantino>take them to the beach. <v Tom Trantino>And then while- [John: tell your story in about 30 seconds.] While we were at the beach, <v Tom Trantino>a young girl was drowning and I saved her. <v Tom Trantino>And that was it. <v John McLaughlin>And you've done a lot of work also with young kids and -. <v Tom Trantino>I work with Juveniles. My wife and I have devised the college program, which is now in <v Tom Trantino>effect at Jamesburg, its the only one of its kind in the entire country. <v John McLaughlin>Are you going to change anything between now and your next parole date? <v Tom Trantino>I am trying to change the sentence that I was given by the parole board. <v John McLaughlin>And you, of course, you plan to appeal this. <v Tom Trantino>Yes. <v John McLaughlin>Do you think you have a realistic shot? <v Tom Trantino>Yes. I still believe in the courts. I still believe in justice. <v Tom Trantino>And I believe I'll get it. <v John McLaughlin>Tommy, thank you very much. <v Tom Trantino>Thank you. <v John McLaughlin>When it reverse itself and denied Tommy Trentino release from jail. <v John McLaughlin>A state parole board clearly made a political judgment, at least in the way it explained <v John McLaughlin>what it did. It justified what it did by quoting selectively from a psychological <v John McLaughlin>report. That report described Trantino as narcissistic and
McLaughlin's Beat
Episode Number
No. 312
Tommy Trantino: Ten More Years
Producing Organization
New Jersey Network
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
"This program was an exclusive interview with a prisoner whose case is unique in New Jersey legal history. Convicted of killing of two police officers in a Lodi bar, Tom Trantino was sentenced to die in 1964. When the Death Penalty was declared unconstitutional, Trantino was taken off Death row and became eligible for parole in 1979. The State Parole Board recommended his release, provided he pay restitution to the officers? families. In 1980, the sentencing court decided Trantino must remain in jail stating it was impossible to set an amount for restitution because it would involve placing a dollar value on the officers? lives. After a series of court decisions, the case made its way back to the Parole Board. In 1982, the Board reversed itself and denied Trantino parole until 1990. John McLaughlin went on-location at the Yardville Correction Center to discuss the Board's decision with Tom Trantino."--1982 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: New Jersey Network
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-4b420ed1874 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 0:28:25
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Chicago: “McLaughlin's Beat; No. 312; Tommy Trantino: Ten More Years,” 1982, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “McLaughlin's Beat; No. 312; Tommy Trantino: Ten More Years.” 1982. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: McLaughlin's Beat; No. 312; Tommy Trantino: Ten More Years. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from