Panel Discussion: Rhode Island and Public Corruption
Hosted by the RWU School of Justice Studies and the RWU School of Law
The “Crimetown” podcast series focused its first season on Providence, quickly shooting to No. 1 on the iTunes charts and further cementing Rhode Island’s reputation for crime and corruption. Is this reputation based more on perception than reality? Does it represent an outdated version of Rhode Island or is it still a matter of pressing public concern? What are the causes of public corruption in Rhode Island? What has been done about it and what remains to be done to address that problem? An expert panel will answer these questions and more.
Peter F. Neronha served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island from September 2009 to March 2017. He was twice appointed to terms on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, which regularly meets with and advises the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues impacting all 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices nationwide. He became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2002 after serving as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General. A fourth generation native of Jamestown, Neronha graduated from North Kingstown High School, Boston College and Boston College Law School.
Arlene Violet became the first female attorney general in the United States when Rhode Island voters elected her to serve from 1984 to 1986. She had been a nun in the Sisters of Mercy religious order. As attorney general, she focused on organized crime, environmental cases and victims’ rights. After leaving office, she hosted a radio talk show from 1990 to 2006. She has written three books “Convictions: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom,” “The Mob and Me” and “Dance of the Chameleon.” She continues to practice public interest law, and her legal endeavors earned her a place – along with Hillary Clinton, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – in the book “The 50 Most Influential Women in American Law.” She is a member of the Roger Williams University Board of Trustees. Born in Providence, she graduated from Salve Regina University and Boston College Law School.
Paul F. Caranci served as Rhode Island’s deputy secretary of state from 2007 to 2015 and on the North Providence Town Council from 1994 to 2010. His efforts in exposing political corruption in his hometown earned him the Margaret Chase Smith Award for Political Courage from the National Association of Secretaries of State. He is the author of eight books, including “Scoundrels: Defining Corruption Through Tales of Political Intrigue in Rhode Island” and – most recently – “Wired: A Shocking True Story of Political Corruption and the FBI Informant Who Risked Everything to Expose It.” A third generation resident of North Providence, he graduated from Providence College and is pursuing a master’s of public administration at Roger Williams University. His wife, Margie Caranci, works at the RWU School of Law.
Edward Fitzpatrick is the director of media and public relations at Roger Williams University. He worked at daily newspapers for 29 years, including 16 years as a reporter and political columnist at The Providence Journal. He is a board member for the New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island. Born in North Providence and raised in Greenville, he graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism and political science.