Monday, February 02, 2009

Judges selling children

Two judges in Pennsylvania were sentenced to seven years in prison each over a kickback scam where they guaranteed a steady supply of child inmates for two private juvenile prisons.
The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it's a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks. The judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.
They're alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators.When a federal judge reviews their plea, though, the question ought to be whether the punishment is adequate - along with the judges being bounced from the bench, disbarred, and losing their pensions.
If the allegations are true, Ciavarella and Conahan were involved in a disgraceful cabal far worse than one that merely lined their pockets.
First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.
Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.
In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.
One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized," center lawyers said.

8 comments:

Gene said...

Monsters!

rww said...

The role of private prisons in this affair should not be ignored.

janfromthebruce said...

A thin line between public/private partnerships. Where there is an "investment" to be made, and the role that "private" played in keeping incarceration rates up in youth detention and crime rates needs to be illuminated.

Matthew The Astrologer said...

So much for elected judges being more honest and reliable...

Larry Gambone said...

The authoritarian nature of the legal system and the for-profit nature of prisons gives rise to sociopaths like this.

Mike said...

Horrific. And the Con want to ensure our prisons also have a steady supply.

WS said...

And to think the State Supreme Court wouldn't review the cases. And the creeps are getting to plea down?!! That's because the other legal entities are covering themselves from a full trial and the resulting testimony. These judges ought to crushed by the system, along with the others who are helping them get off.

WS said...

And another thing, where's the outrage from citizens?

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