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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Judge Re-Indicted in "Cash for Kids" Scandal

Judge Re-Indicted in "Cash for Kids" Scandal
The Legal Intelligencer by Leo Strupczewski - September 30, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PA - A federal grand jury has handed down a superseding indictment against former Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the federal honest services fraud statute, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter J. Smith said the indictment contains 39 counts of criminal charges against Ciavarella. That means the number of charges against the former Luzerne County judge has been reduced from 48 to 39.

The new indictment still charges Ciavarella with racketeering, fraud and money laundering, along with tax violations, while alleging he received "millions of dollars in illegal payments," along with fellow former Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge Michael T. Conahan, according to Smith. It did, however, drop charges from the 48-count indictment filed in September 2009, including four counts of tax fraud and three counts of honest services fraud. In the 48-count indictment, federal prosecutors alleged twice that Ciavarella had lied about his taxable income on IRS Tax Form 1040 in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Each allegation was for a different income amount. In the superseding indictment, however, there is only one such allegation for each year. Also, the superseding indictment drops from the 48-count indictment three counts of honest services fraud for filing "materially false annual statement[s] of interests submitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts." A noted difference between the indictments is the wording of the first paragraph, titled "The Parties," of the indictments. In the 48-count indictment, the document states that Ciavarella and Conahan had a "fiduciary duty to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to the Judiciary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and were required to file an annual statement of financial interests with the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts." In the superseding indictment, the document states that the two judges owed a fiduciary duty to the citizens of the state and to the judiciary "to refrain from engaging in any activity prohibited by law and to refrain from being paid or accepting payment of any fee, emolument or perquisite other than the salary and expenses provided by law." Ciavarella's attorney, Al Flora of Wilkes-Barre, said he hadn't seen the superseding indictment, but knew it was tied to the U.S. Supreme Court's honest services fraud ruling earlier this year. "We knew it was going to be coming down some time ago," he said. "It was just a matter of when." Each charge is related to Ciavarella's ties to two juvenile detention facilities: PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $2.8 million — an amount the government alleges was the proceeds from the judges' criminal activity. The changes in the indictment are a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Skilling v. United States and two related cases to limit "honest services" fraud charges to cover only bribes and kickbacks. The law was previously used by federal prosecutors to file charges for a wide range of illicit activities

The superseding indictment was the latest twist in a story that has seen several since mid-2009, including Conahan pleading guilty in relation to the case. In July 2009, U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik threw out the initial plea agreements reached between Conahan, Ciavarella and federal prosecutors, in part because of the judges' conduct following the plea agreements and their refusal to accept responsibility for the crimes they had committed. Ciavarella's public comments were self-serving, Kosik said, and Conahan was being obstructionist. Conahan and Ciavarella made a joint filing Aug. 20, 2009, petitioning Kosik to reinstate their agreed upon sentence of 87 months each in prison because neither could be found at fault for his post-plea hearing actions. Kosik rejected that Aug. 24. That same day, the former judges withdrew their guilty pleas and formally entered pleas of not guilty to the charges. In his Aug. 24 order, Kosik said in light of the presentence report and sentencing recommendation from the probation office, it was within his discretion to throw out the plea agreements. The probation officer's "assessment and justification for the recommendation" was partly the basis for Kosik's earlier conclusions that Conahan was obstructing justice, failing to discuss the motivation behind his conduct and failing to accept responsibility for his crimes, he said. "The probation recommendation characterized these failures by Conahan as based on his 'scandalous conduct,'" Kosik wrote in his Aug. 24 order. "The defense claims that a defendant is not required to admit relevant conduct beyond the offense of conviction. The court generally agrees, but the defendant was expected to admit relevant conduct related to the scandalous nature of the offense of conviction." In a telling footnote, Kosik said he had met with Conahan's and Ciavarella's lawyers twice and rejected reconsidering the plea agreements both times. He said federal prosecutors as well as the defense attorneys had urged him to reconsider the plea deals. Both sides offered to meet with him separately "to explain each side's reasons for entering into the plea agreement," Kosik said. "The offer was rejected by the court because such a meeting might impermissibly involve the court in plea bargaining," he said. Later in the body of his opinion, Kosik said: "It ill behooves both parties to want the court to consider additional reasons to be conveyed in private." A new 48-count indictment was filed by the federal government in September 2009 and the judges entered joint "not guilty" pleas. They followed that up by filing a series of pretrial motions together, charging federal officials with "outrageous government misconduct," questioning the impartiality of the judge assigned to their case and requesting a change in venue in March 2010. Conahan, however, took a surprise turn by leaving Ciavarella behind and reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors. In doing so, he admitted to accepting, along with Ciavarella, more that $2.8 million from the builder and former co-owner of a private juvenile detention facility. Conahan's plea agreement limits his exposure to one racketeering conspiracy charge, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Absent from the 21-page agreement is any minimum sentencing requirement or sentencing recommendation from prosecutors. Instead, the agreement outlines that any penalty is to be "determined by the court."

20 comments:

disgusted said...

This story should be on the front page of every paper EVERY DAY !

Themis unblinded said...

"In the superseding indictment, the document states that the two judges owed a fiduciary duty to the citizens of the state and to the judiciary "to refrain from engaging in any activity prohibited by law and to refrain from being paid or accepting payment of any fee, emolument or perquisite other than the salary and expenses provided by law."

Why didn't Cuomo apply this to NY Judges?

"The indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $2.8 million — an amount the government alleges was the proceeds from the judges' criminal activity."

Why doesn't Cuomo file RICO (NY Enterprise Corruption law)charges and take the money away?

"Conahan's plea agreement limits his exposure to one racketeering conspiracy charge, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000."

Why doesn't Cuomo have our corrupt Judges facing years in prison and according to NY penal law "§460.30 Enterprise corruption; forfeiture, 5. Any person convicted of a violation of section 460.20 of this article through which he derived pecuniary value, or by which he caused personal injury or property damage or other loss, may be sentenced to pay a fine not in excess of three times the gross value he gained or three times the gross loss he caused, whichever is greater."

For whom did Cuomo succeed?

Anonymous said...

Cuomo won't do it because that will mean he will have to arrest some of his pro pedophilia friends like Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq since her husband is a friend and former ADA for Cuomo.

This rat sells children for porn and prostitution in child custody cases in the Goshen Court in Orange County New York. And I am referring to Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq.

Of course why aren't the FEDS and Cuomo all over this investigating these allegations??

Can someone contact Senator William Larkin from Orange County?

oops sorry Larkin won't get involved, because if he does that would mean his brother in law would have to go to jail for selling children for sexual exploitation in child custody cases. As upon information and belief Larkin's brother in law is a Judge in the Goshen Court in Orange County.

Larkin can't get involved because he can go to jail, this are his own words. I bet you would go to jail since you have helped cover up the sexual crimes against children and case fixing in Orange County.

Hey Senator Larkin is it true you are mad about the sex and orgy party that took placed in a juvenile facility in Goshen, just because you weren't invited?

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Anonymous said...

So, in Orange County Goshen Court the Judges are selling their public service in child custody and divorce cases.

To abuse Domestic Violence Victims and to sell children to be sexually exploited.

If you don't believe me request an investigation of all the child custody and divorce cases Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. has been involved in, you will see a despicable and corrupt pattern.

Of course there is no investigation to this allegations because of her connections to the Office of Andrew Cuomo. ;)

What happens in Orange County is cover up by every single agency in the county!!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Cuomo file RICO (NY Enterprise Corruption law)charges and take the money away?

Gotta get rid of three men in a room first and have the Senators sign a proper Ethics Bill and charge them all if they violate the peoples trust!

This is our State
The People's State!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Cuomo file RICO (NY Enterprise Corruption law)charges and take the money away?

Gotta get rid of three men in a room first and have the Senators sign a proper Ethics Bill and charge them all if they violate the peoples trust!

This is our State
The People's State!

Anonymous said...

Thought there may be or should be more coverage on Lippman's new rule saying Judges can have other jobs. Has anyone seen the Judicial Ethics Disclosure Rules that go along with this?

Doesn't seem to be any way to help or change NY at all and seems to open up more ways for complicated schemes and scams for "kick back" and "favors" since Judges could now more frequently be in many other settings.

This is NOT ANY step in the right direction in the view of this author and Lippman should be taken to task on this and more.

Then again, seems as though Gov Paterson and AG Cuomo have disregarded addressing problems in the Judiciary and the media has not mentioned a peep.

What about enforcement of the existing Judicial Ethics Disclosure rules and laws and other Judicial Conduct rules?

Shouldn't the good examples and precedent start at the top?

Sun Ming "Sunny" Sheu of Queens, NY may have lost his life after obtaining Judicial Disclosures of State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Golia of Queens, also President of the State Supreme Court Judge's Association and put into nice status by Lippman himself.

Google "Sunny Sheu" to see the video he felt compelled to make to guard for his safety after going to the FBI and more.

Where is the investigation in to what surely is a suspicious death itself with many highly questionable actions already?

hudson valley region

Anonymous said...

The people of New York would be happy to just have "a few" indictments of the corrupt Judges who ply their trade here. So take you pick guys - Prince Andy has never done anything except collect money!

Anonymous said...

i remember a luncheon with Lt Gov Stan Lundine as an Interning law student around '91 or '92 just after writing a paper at law school about campaign finance reform, money in politics, first amendment concerns, bribery and kickback etc.

after making compliments on the aspirational aspects of the paper, the Lt Gov went on to comment along the lines of "nearly" or almost "every" contribution being some "form" of quid pro quo. this is not a quote but gist of the comments.

sort of an eye opener about the system in new york and the nation, everything being a payoff. not really expressed that way in the law schools however, eager to gain students.

stan seemed like a nice person talking about the system present even then.

hasn't seemed to change much despite which party in power. everything a pay off or near that.

Anonymous said...

This type of corruption is going on all over the country its not just Pennsylvania. We in Florida have it every day. Maybe 10 years ago the FBI rounded up a bunch of crooked judges but nothing since then. Time for a replay and do over.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Why would the newspapers & Tv Talk shows cover this.....
that would make the people know there is justice, there can be justice, no matter how corrupt the system....W
We The People Can Make The Difference....
Thank you Eric Holder and friends for taking on the corrupt bastards, you will always be honored for your strength!

Jail4JudgesNow said...

THIS IS YET ANOTHER REASON THAT ALL JUDGES BELONG IN THE JAILS OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY. PUT THEM ALL BEHIND BARS AND WE CAN ALL REST EASY.

Anonymous said...

How many dimes were dropped on these criminal Judges and nothing was done about it? Were there any investigations that were shut down on the judges orders? How many childern did they screw with. The system is not working and the Tea Party is going to fix this type of crap!

Anonymous said...

I am finally and completely convinced that there is not one honest or decent person who is involved in any aspect of the legal systems of the U.S.

There is not one judge, lawyer, or public official who is not solely looking out for themselves and enjoy harming all that they can and reaping their rewards.

It's just unbelievable how these people can continue to lie and violate any "oath" that they take, and continue to get paid the unbelievable amounts that they scam from the public.

Again, today, NYS's AG got caught in yet another lie. Claiming money he received was returned.

It would be nice if there were laws against this, but that would be just another sham because the laws only apply to victims and not predators.

It's just unbelievable.

I'm going to move to a third world country. At least there I know what I'll get.

Anonymous said...

I;M A DAD who's child was taken by social service's. 3 years 100,000 dollars later I'm heartbroke and sick to what this system did to my daughter and me. Words I have read here have done Little. I am a highly trained Navy Seal and its taken every bit of me to not act out,but one day someone will and it won't be pretty,,do they really think I don't think do they are all very evil and insane,

Anonymous said...

Recruiting new children into the Global Child Sex Trafficking/Pornography Industry, worth trillions of dollars worldwide, works this way in the United States (especially in the corrupt New York City Family Courts):

A Prostitute, usually coming from this same industry, entraps and has a child with a wealthy but naive father who she then divorces and makes him pay a fortune in mandatory Child Support, about 21% of his income a year for 21 years.

All the while, she provokes and instigates him repeatedly until he reacts and she can then obtain Orders of Protection against him, so he can never even see his own kids, but still pays a fortune in support.

Usually some type of Domestic Violence Women's group will represent that con-artist woman/prostitute for free, said group routinely staffed with Pedophiles and Sexual Deviants who also support and actively partake in the Global Child Sex Trafficking Industry. Some of these "agencies" even are so bold as to have a "wing" of their organization devoted to "stopping or preventing child sex trafficking." (The Lady Doth Protest Too Much - William Shakespeare) to further obfuscate and cover their tracks and true intentions.

This is all the while the poor SOB Father has to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers who always lose, owing to the above, and the following:

The Family Court Judges in New York City and the Law Guardian chosen in these child custody cases (and the Court Appointed Forensic Psychologists) are also Perverts, Pedophiles, and they support and participate in the Global Child Sex Trafficking/Pornography Industry, and may even be willing and active participants.

The Family Court Judge and Law Guardian are literally hand picked by the "Domestic Violence Women's Lobbying Group" to ensure that those kids never ever see their Fathers (who can protect them) again, by repeatedly and consistently disallowing those Fathers to see their children, with less and less time, until finally the Father's Parental Rights are terminated for good, leaving those poor defenseless children in the sole custody of that vile, drug addicted, alcoholic, violent, deranged, descendent of the child porn industry prostitute mother, who now, free to do so without any prevention by the estranged and removed Biological Father - SURPRISE! sells those kids off to the highest bidder in the Global Child Sex Trafficking/Pornography Industry, again, worth trillions of dollars a year.

And then the cycle repeats itself a generation later with those "sold off children" doing it to their own kids, their souls having been lost forever.

Meanwhile the FBI, ICE, DHS, and other Federal and State Law Enforcement Agencies do absolutely nothing (many of them may be pedophiles, partaking of this child sex industry as well).

These "law enforcement agencies" will tell you "it's not in their Mandate" or "there's nothing we can do," and will tell you to refer it to the Administration for Childrens Services ("ACS") which is equally if not more corrupt, also staffed with incompetents and corrupt caseworkers, and at the higher levels perverts and pedophiles, and also just as beholden and owned by the Global Child Sex Trafficking/Pornography Industry as the specially selected Family Court Judges and Law Guardians.

All ACS ever does is sweep legitimate allegations and complaints about the above under the rug, while attacking and vilifying the Complainant.

In other words, there is a Grand Conspiracy of Global Child Sex Trafficking, completely fool proof and airtight, and no one can (or will) do a goddamned thing about it.

If you try and complain about it, or try and launch an investigation into it, both you and your world will be crushed by the awesome money, power, political connections, lobbying groups, and "professionals" in charge of maintaining and preserving this "industry."

Count on it.

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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
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