Corrado Carnevale (born May 9, 1930) is an Italian judge, currently member of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation. He became famous because of the large number of Mafia cases overturned in the Appeal Court where he was president, because of his involvement in some of the worst corruption scandals in the history of the Italian Judiciary and his alleged collusion with the Mafia.
Born at Licata, Sicily, he graduated with honours from the University of Palermo at the age of 21 and came first in the competitive exam for a post of uditore Giudiziario, which he took up on 17 December 1953. His lightning career was crowned at the age of 55, when he became the youngest-ever President of the Italian High Court, the Corte di Cassazione.
He earned the nickname Sentence-Slayer (Italian ammazzasentenze) because of the high number of convictions of Mafiosi overturned on appeal in his court for the slightest technicality, such as the lack of a rubber stamp on a document. The Maxi Trial of the mid-1980s, spearheaded by Giovanni Falcone, had led to the convictions of over 200 Mafiosi, of which only a few dozen were still behind bars by 1990, due to Carnevale's role in the appeal trials, quashing the sentences of men who had been brought to trial for conspiracy with the Mafia after long and extenuating trials.
He was close to Salvatore Lima, a Christian Democrat politician who was believed to have been working on behalf of the Mafia, receiving bribes, votes and political favours in return for appointing Mafia-friendly judges, like Carnevale. Lima was murdered in 1992 after "outliving his usefulness", according to Tommaso Buscetta. Carnevale was also allegedly close to Giulio Andreotti, seven times Italian prime minister and one of the most powerful politicians of Italy since World War 2. Andreotti was also tried for his alleged links with the Mafia, and eventually acquitted only on grounds of expiry of statutory terms: the court established that Andreotti had indeed had strong ties to the Mafia until 1980.
The section of the High Court under Carnevale's presidency also cleared the names of the perpetrators of crimes of terrorism in the 1970s.
It was Carnevale's involvement in the Andreotti case which eventually led to Carnevale's suspension from office (30 October 1993). He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for criminal conspiracy with the Mafia in 2001, a judgement which was reversed by the High Court, the Cassazione, on the 30th October 2002.
On the 22nd January 2007, the IV Commission of the CSM, (Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura) passed a majority vote (three in favour, one against, two abstentions) in favour of Carnevale's return to work as a judge, in the same role he occupied before his "retirement". Two years previously, the same body had voted against allowing Carnevale to don his judge's robes again, a ruling which was annulled by the Consiglio di Stato on the basis of a law guaranteeing the right of civil servants who have been fired because of a criminal conviction to be reinstated when the conviction is finally quashed.
It is the plenary meeting of the CSM which will take the final decision.
- Sentenza Carnevale 30 October 2002
- Guardian report on corruption in Italy's judiciary
- Excellent Cadavers (1995) Alexander Stille, Vintage, ISBN 978-0-09-959491-8.
- The Antimafia: Italy’s fight against organized crime (1999), Alison Jamieson, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-333-80158-1.