Deciding what to put on your website is a little like deciding what to put on your tombstone, should your obsessive-compulsive nature, like mine, extend that far.
That's a morbid way to welcome readers to a website. When you reach a certain age, though, you think about stuff like that: erecting monuments to yourself, figuratively and literally. (Don't get me started on the rampant overuse and misuse of literally, but the word fits here.) I've a bit more space on my website than I'll have on that block of granite; still, there are life markers that define me and that belong in both places.
Naval aviator is one. It was the hardest thing I accomplished, even harder than writing a book. It took two years to get my gold wings, a process that included 16 carrier landings as part of my training. I went on to fly land-based, multi-engine aircraft—the P-2 Neptune and the P-3 Orion, specifically—and never had a shot or missile fired at me in anger. Still, commanding a 12-man crew in search of Soviet submarines and jockeying an airliner-sized plane into tight turns, 300 feet above the ocean, wasn't anything to sneeze at. The P-3 was actually a military version of the Lockheed Electra, widely used in commercial aviation before the jet age.
Trial prosecutor was the job I was best at and the job I loved best, for 19 years, with more than 2,000 trials and a 99 percent conviction rate. Most were bench trials—i.e., in front of a judge, only—for lesser offenses, like drunk driving, other traffic offenses, and misdemeanors. But I had close to 50 jury trials, involving murder, kidnapping, arson, and other serious crimes. The duty of a prosecutor, they say, is to see justice done and not, simply, to get convictions. Well, that's true, but I never prosecuted anyone I didn't believe to be guilty, beyond any reasonable doubt. And so, to me, getting a conviction was seeing that justice was done.
My biggest case? The murder of an heir to the Sealy Mattress fortune and the kidnapping and robbery of his elderly mother. It was a meticulously planned crime encompassing three separate home invasions and four other victims. Both defendants were convicted of all 18 counts in the indictment. The Sealy Mattress case was to me what the "Penge Bungalow murders" were to Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer's magnificent character of an English barrister. Rumpole appeared for the defense, of course, while I appeared for the "Crown."
The thing that fills me with most pride, though, is my four-year stint as mayor of Ramsey, New Jersey, my hometown and the place where my family has been for more than 100 years. It wasn't a job, it was a privilege. My first book chronicled that experience and remains a resource for anyone contemplating a run for local office. Titled Passion, Politics and Patriotism in Small-Town America: Confessions of a plain-talking, independent Mayor, it's still available at amazon.com and is featured in the "Books" section of this website.
My opinion pieces and books reflect the peripatetic life I've led—ideal training for a writer, if the old saw, "Write about what you know," holds true.
I hope you'll visit this site once in a while to check my latest blog posting or to see what's new in my publishing and political worlds. Click on "Contact" if you wish to write to me about any of my books or opinion pieces or upcoming events or anything else. You can expect a timely, personal reply. Click on any of my book titles and you'll see excerpts as well as ordering information, should you be so inclined.
Copyright © 2016 by Richard Muti. All rights reserved for all content published on this website.