Skip to comments.Pa. judges accused of jailing kids for cash
Posted on 02/11/2009 2:54:05 PM PST by mgstarr
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses.
The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench.
In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.
"I've never encountered, and I don't think that we will in our lifetimes, a case where literally thousands of kids' lives were just tossed aside in order for a couple of judges to make some money," said Marsha Levick, an attorney with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which is representing hundreds of youths sentenced in Wilkes-Barre.
Prosecutors say Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and a sister company, Western PA Child Care LLC. The judges were charged on Jan. 26 and removed from the bench by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court shortly afterward.
No company officials have been charged, but the investigation is still going on.
The high court, meanwhile, is looking into whether hundreds or even thousands of sentences should be overturned and the juveniles' records expunged.
Among the offenders were teenagers who were locked up for months for stealing loose change from cars, writing a prank note and possessing drug paraphernalia. Many had never been in trouble before. Some were imprisoned even after probation officers recommended against it.
Many appeared without lawyers, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1967 ruling that children have a constitutional right to counsel.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
So much utter corruption at all levels in this country.
These “judges” should be beaten to death.
Our Nation is toast, unless “We the People” take back our governmental institutions from the best criminals that money can buy.
The inmates run the asylum.
These kids will sue and the tax payers will foot the bill.
A judge is just a lawyer that is angling for a quicker way to make an illegal buck or to self-enact his own political ideology. Either way, the legal system is largely corrupt.
“Name that Party”
I had to search 10 articles to find their obvious poltical party.
We are well on track to 3rd world status with this type of corruption.
It needs to be made an example of when found. Sadly, that is not the case.
Corrupt judges, eh.
I’ll bet a corrupt judge is *very* popular in prison.
Forget “your honor” — get used to answering to “prison b!tch”.
These “judges” should go penniless to the Big House. General population.
Yes these judges should be executed....taking bribes from private run prisons...getting government money to break the law....
...and police officers don’t have ticket quotas...and traffic court magistrates don’t take the budget into consideration...
Judge Smails: I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.
Well 25 years is more than 7 and 25 years sounds like too light a sentence.
Were these kids Amish?
Were these kids Amish?
This county is so corrupt, the Federal DOJ has a website for this: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/pam/Victim_Witness/Luzerne_county_corruption.html
The judicial system in the country is broken from the Federal to local county levels
Locally, it is designed to put people into a system to extract money and fess to keep the parole officers and public defenders office from being a financial drain on the counties.
Petty and very minor crimes are given parole, community service hours and monthly fees to pay
Anybody who thinks a pubic defender wants you to be free of the judicial system by actually trying your cases is delusional. It's plea down your case, adjudication (which is you are responsible to pay for, later) parole with the accompanying fess and hoops you jump though.
I truly fear for this country because we have lost all sense of judicial restraint for the common man, except for terrorist and politicians who seem to get a pass even for the most obvious crimes
Apparently the whole justice system is corrupt, take the case of H. Beatty Chadwick, now incarcerated in his 14th year behind bars on a CIVIL contempt charge. The masters in Black Robes think they are gods.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.