Michael Paranzino, President of Throw Away The Key

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   LAW STAR                                                                                           www.lawcrossing.com       1. 800.973.1177

                            Michael Paranzino, President of Throw Away The
                            By Regan Morris
                            On December 2, 2005, Kenneth Lee Boyd became the 1,000th person executed in the United States since
                            the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. In the first of a two-part series, LawCrossing
                            speaks with attorney Michael Paranzino, who is working to support capital punishment.

Mr. Paranzino started the advocacy and            Robin Lovitt was scheduled to be the ,000th        often quotes Department of Justice statistics,
education group Throw Away The Key in             person executed, but Virginia Governor Mark         and the numbers infuriate him. Two-thirds of
hopes of reducing violent crime. Through          Warner granted clemency a day before Lovitt         released criminals are re-arrested for a new
Throw Away The Key, Paranzino pushes for          was to be killed. The case drew worldwide           crime within three years. The average rapist
longer sentences for convicted rapists and        media attention, which Paranzino said is too        serves about seven years; the average child
child molesters and the death penalty for         often focused on the convicted killer.              molester serves about three years.
convicted murderers.
                                                  “Many people know a lot about the criminal          “Those numbers are so shocking, and people
On the eve of Boyd’s execution, Paranzino         Lovitt, but nobody knows anything about             say, ‘You really want to throw away the key,’
issued a statement urging Americans to            Clayton Dicks, the forgotten victim. He was         but the truth is the numbers are so far from
remember Boyd’s victims—his wife and              just an average Joe, working at a pool hall,        that,” he said.
father-in-law.                                    just living his life, making his meat working
                                                  the late shift that night; and he was brutally      Throw Away The Key runs on a shoestring
“When Kenneth Boyd is executed tomorrow           murdered over the cash box,” Paranzino said.        budget and relies on small donations, often
morning, let us pause and say a prayer for        “He had a family, and he deserved to be able        from stay-at-home moms, Paranzino said.
the 600,000 innocent men, women, and              to live. And every time we talk about Lovitt,
children who have been brutally murdered          the killer, we ought to mention that there          “I’m a policy wonk at heart, so here we
across America in the time that ,000 killers     was a guy named Clayton Dicks and his life          launched this entity without really having a
have faced justice,” Paranzino said in the        had dignity and value.”                             plan, because we cared about the issues,”
statement. “Let us also remember Julie Curry                                                          he said. “So it was done backwards. Most
Boyd and her father, Thomas Curry, who were       Paranzino, who graduated from Yale and              nonprofits start with the funding.”
murdered in cold blood by Kenneth Boyd.”          attended New York University Law School,
                                                  said too often convicted rapists and child          Originally from Philadelphia, Paranzino
Paranzino, 39, told LawCrossing he was            molesters are let out of prison after short         worked in corporate law in Phoenix, AZ,
inspired to start Throw Away The Key in           sentences only to commit more crimes. He            after graduation, but soon realized corporate
2002 because he felt think tanks and the          said his dream for Throw Away The Key is to         law wasn’t for him. Instead of reading ABA
media often ignored the victims of violent        arrange funding for the organization so he          journals after work, he was drawn to CSPAN
crimes. Throw Away The Key’s motto is             can staff it and eventually turn it over to staff   and the happenings in Washington. Paranzino
“Incarceration Works.”                            so he can return to work as a lobbyist.             soon quit his job to volunteer for Jon Kyl’s
                                                                                                      Senate race in 994. Then Paranzino went
An attorney and former Congressional staffer      What the group lacks in funding, it makes up        to work for Congressman Matt Salmon,
and lobbyist, Paranzino runs the grassroots,      for in public sympathy, Paranzino said. He          eventually becoming his chief of staff.
nonprofit alone from his house outside            quotes various polls, which show Americans          Paranzino spent much of his time developing
of Washington, DC. Paranzino had been             overwhelmingly support the death penalty.           anti-crime legislation.
running a small public relations and lobbying     Paranzino has become close with the family
firm when he decided to focus full time on        of Carlie Brucia, the -year-old girl who          Paranzino said he considered becoming a
raising his children and creating Throw Away      was abducted and slain in Florida. He said          prosecutor, but he saw many people in the
The Key. The group has recently received          the Brucia family has since used material           profession shift to defense work later in their
increased media attention because of the          and statistics from Throw Away The Key to           careers, and he said he could never defend
,000th-execution milestone.                      lobby Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Paranzino          criminals.

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   LAW STAR                                                                                       www.lawcrossing.com    1. 800.973.1177

“I launched this group as a way for me to try     for a paycheck in the future and that selling   tell young attorneys that I’m counseling to
to help crime victims, who to me are the truly    his tech stocks before the bubble burst has     embrace risk,” he said. “I’ve managed to go
forgotten group in this debate,” Paranzino        helped his family manage.                       from a life where my life was great if I was
said. “I lead a very unusual life. I call these                                                   on a good case with a great partner and my
my strange years. I’m an at-home dad. I           He said his legal training has helped his       life was lousy if I was on a lousy case with
have two kids at home, and I go through           policy initiatives and encourages other         an unpleasant partner. Now I do only what I
contortions. CNN wanted me today, so I had        attorneys to follow their dreams if they are    want to do. I work only on issues that I care
to find a mom-friend to cover me so I could       unhappy practicing law.                         about. By embracing that risk and taking the
do CNN. That’s the kind of life I lead.”                                                          financial hits at times, I’ve managed to move
                                                  “I walked away from a lucrative career to       myself into a position where I do exactly what
Paranzino donates his time to Throw Away          work for nothing for four months and then       I want.”
The Key and said he may return to working         for peanuts on a Senate race, so I always


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Description: Michael Paranzino is President of Throw Away The Key. He is working support Capital punishment support.
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