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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Intervention by Feds Forces Makeover for Kids-for-Cash Court

A makeover for Pa.'s notorious kids-for-cash court
The Associated Press by MICHAEL RUBINKAM - May 16, 2009

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - For the first time since a jaw-dropping scandal involving crooked judges and troubled kids, voters in northeast Pennsylvania are getting a chance to assert themselves at the ballot box , and, perhaps, to start fixing the problems that have turned this former hub of coal mining into a hothouse of corruption. On Tuesday, residents of Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding area will choose among 17 candidates running for two open spots on the short-handed Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, where two judges recently pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks, a third was kicked out for misconduct in a separate case, and the FBI has been looking into allegations of case fixing.

All of the judicial candidates say they want to restore trust and confidence in the court system. But they're fighting strong currents of voter cynicism; the widespread belief here is that politicians treat local government as a spoils system for friends, family and supporters. "When you go out there (on the campaign trail), the absolutely overpowering message is they've completely lost trust," said candidate Michael Blazick, 35, who has won the endorsement of both daily newspapers in Wilkes-Barre. "There's been a meltdown in the public's confidence in the judicial system. They think all judges are corrupt, and anyone seeking a judgeship must have ulterior motives." While the attitude is frustrating, Blazick said, "you can't fault the public for feeling that way." Indeed, Luzerne County has endured one political scandal after another. First came "kids for cash," a story that reverberated nationwide as a pair of judges, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, were charged in January with taking $2.6 million in kickbacks to stock private detention centers with young offenders. They pleaded guilty to fraud and face seven years in prison. Then a top court official admitted he embezzled tens of thousands of dollars, and another pleaded guilty to tampering with court files. Then came an FBI appeal for the public's help in rooting out corruption in the hiring of public school teachers , followed by charges against two Luzerne County school officials.

More public officials are expected to go down before the FBI and federal prosecutors end their probe in Luzerne County, about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. "Somebody's always on the take," complained Jim Bussacco, 84, one recent Saturday while in his back yard near Wilkes-Barre. "Greed is the motivating factor. Everybody wants the buck. Politicians have too many family members working in county jobs, school jobs." Beyond selecting candidates for judge, voters Tuesday also will decide whether they want to take a first tentative step toward scrapping the county's current form of government , which reformers say has bred decades of corruption , in favor of a home rule charter designed to reduce the opportunities for graft. The ballot measure is being pushed by a group of young reformers, who have spent weeks going door-to-door to build support. A similar effort failed in 2003 after opponents of home rule mounted a furious campaign against it. But P.J. Best, a 24-year-old law student and former candidate for state representative who is behind the latest campaign, said a shake-up is desperately needed after the recent spate of corruption. "It's a 'good old boys' network where all these politically connected people get together and start working the system. And none of them turn on each other," Best said. "Unless you have a system that is more open, transparent and accessible to the people, (corruption) can go under the radar for quite some time."

20 comments:

curious said...

This is a national problem, not just happening in PA. Why have the feds done nothing in NYC!?!?!

Anonymous said...

New York in total...!!!
___________________________

I would like to see a copy of their initiative, to see what they are championing...

Got a link??

Anonymous said...

NY state's judicial system is the absolute largest corruption system in this country...and to clean this system up first, will allow the trickle down affect to begin in all the moderately corrupt states!

Most people I have spoken to in NY state about the judicial system...have a very negative view of the judges and employees...and all want to know how to demand a cleanup...the FBI does not answer any phone calls related to judicial corruption and the media ignores them also... so how can the citizens of this state demand investigation without being shut out.

We cannot vote these judges in or out of their 10 and 14 yr terms....all of which need to be limited to 5 yrs, because of political cross endorsements and the Kaye command of elevating judges to courts they were not elected to, which was specifically meant to leave the voters out of their own elected judicial system ...so she could use it for her personal abuse, while stroking the politicians for continued patronage of those who kiss the ass of the corrupt mantra of the judicial system.

Our NY system cannot be cleaned out by any NY state entity or as you see the Governor...it can only be accomplished with a federal agency and the command from Washington.

So the only clear attempts we can make are to write to "President Obama' ... and that means everyone from this densely populated state.... to demand control of our judicial system and the judges we choose to sit there .... IN SERVICE OF THE CITIZENS OF NY AND NOT IN SERVICE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THEIR FAMILIES AND THE CORRUPT AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT IS IN AFFECT TODAY!

This is the only attempt we can make to stop the scourge of this long time corruption in our past, which appears to be embedded for certain in the future...of the NY STATE JUDICIAL OPERATION!

Anonymous said...

Thank GOD...FINALLY!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

NY can be cleaned out by a governor who demands the corrupt be prosecuted; directs the AG to prosecute all corrupt judges and all the bar grievance committees and replace the entire CJC. If the Governor is speaking out, the news media cannot cover-up the judicial corruption due to their fears. Judges who don't want to cooperate can answer to the people outside their courthouse. Come on,Paterson, what do you have to lose.

Anonymous said...

A federal taskforce is the only hope for NYS. Judicial Corruption is the norm in the Empire State.

Anonymous said...

Paterson's actions would piss off the big and old long time embedded politicians...which would kill his chances at any further career in what he has always and only known...politics.
He will not take that risk for himself....although I believe he would like to...somewhat.
So federal intervention unfortunately IS the only alternative and it will only come from a massive protest by the people of this entire state.
Remember Lippman is a complete continuation of this judicial path of evil, and he must be removed by "David" who put him there just a few months ago at the behest of Kaye and others...whom David praised as the best Chief Judge "ever" in NY STATE.
Kaye created most of the present destruction of our system and David not only did not acknowledge that, but he praised her efforts while she was destroying it.
So he is a lost cause right from the start...don't waste your time promoting him...he is not viable.
DAVID" cannot ADDRESS the very problems that he has had a hand in influencing and creating!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it odd that Schumer can make a call to the President, Obama, and Obama interjects himself in New York State Politics and gets a potential Senate candidate to back out so Gillenbrand has clear sailing, and not one person, Schumer, Patterson, Clinton, Cuomo, or anyone else can't make a call to get the DOJ to clean up the mess in the NY courts or politics?

With all the backroom politicking that goes on anyway, why can't someone use their connections to help fix this mess?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Schumer, Clinton, Cuomo are part of the problem. Why did Madoff get away so long? Who do you think selected federal judges in NY? What does Paterson have to lose, if he attacks them all? All this corruption exists because the media doesn't cover it. Media fears alienating the judges and lawyers, but if the Governor speaks, they'll be forced to cover it. Imagine Paterson saying Frank Brady has over 60,000 complaints and I, as Governor, are going to be sure you all know about all of them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Yes. I certainly know who the crooks are.

Patterson certainly should be the one to make that call. He seems to be under some illusion that he will actually be elected next time. That is not going to happen.

He should bite the bullet, and do the right thing, and go out in a blaze of glory.

Anonymous said...

What is this with Lippman and his "Permanent Innocence Task Force"?

Isn't he supposed to be running the Courts? Isn't it supposed to be the job of Judges to apply the Law?

Although a noble cause, this is not an area he has any authority over. This is something the legislature should address. It would involve the police and the prosecutors.

Why is the legislature allowing him to step on their toes? He should stick to trying to fix the mess in the Courts before looking for more trouble.

Anonymous said...

The New York State Supreme And Family Court in Goshen are selling children every day. Such pigs running this child abuse ring. The Feds need to look at the files of Justice Andrew Bivona, Justice Debra Kiedasch, Justice John K. McGuirk and more... In particurlar take a look at the law guardians going before these judges and the forensic expert evaluators they pick. oink oink oink

Anonymous said...

Just got off the phone with a Rachel from Andrew Cuomo's office.. Telephone number 212-416-8147.
It would seem that any criminal action taken by the Courts is of no interest to them.. The remedy is appeal..

There you have it the People of the State of New York will have no Prosecutor...

Anonymous said...

Rachel was an SEC attorney in her past life...

Anonymous said...

Again...you must forget anything NY state...it will never be in anyway the people who can or will investigate the NY judicial system...that is futile today and tomorrow ...concentrate and move on to the federal agencies and Obama!

Anonymous said...

Saint Andrew is continuing his work as Patron Saint of Crooked Lawyers and Judges. Let's all pray that Saint Andrew receives his reward in the afterlife. Did Rachel have wings?

Anonymous said...

I see we have a Rachel in common...
http://www.iviewit.tv/CompanyDocs/INVESTIGATIONS%20MASTER.htm

So what's the real deal? are they instructed not to work for the Public? Inquiring minds want to know...

Anonymous said...

yea sure.. they've been serving the Public...

ON A PLATTER!!!

Anonymous said...

If your case was fixed either in the Family court or Supreme Court. Don't count on getting justice as a pro se litigant, or with assigned counsel in the appellate court. Since you will be facing the same criminals together with their helpers in the appellate court. WHen you see Francis Nicolai, thank him he is also involved in the crimes against children in the Ninth Judicial DIstrict.

Anonymous said...

How about investigating Kids-For-Sex in child custody cases?? I am sure you will find plenty of cases in the 9th Judicial District and if you look further maybe more cases in the entire New Yuck Judicial Toilet System.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2