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Monday, February 7, 2011

Kids For Cash Judge Trial For Kickbacks To Begin

Former Pa. judge to go on trial in kickbacks case
The Assocaited Press by MICHAEL RUBINKAM - February 6, 2011

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Kids in Luzerne County had a powerful incentive to stay out of the courtroom of Mark Ciavarella, a fearsome, zero-tolerance judge who tossed youths into juvenile detention even when their crimes didn't warrant it. Ciavarella ordered a 13-year-old boy to spend 48 terrifying days in a private jail for throwing a piece of steak at his mother's boyfriend during an argument. An honor roll student who had never been in trouble before was sent to the same jail, PA Child Care, because she gave the middle finger to a police officer. A girl who accidentally set her house ablaze while playing with a lighter languished in PA Child Care for more than a month — forced to shower naked in front of male guards, she says, and prohibited from hugging her family during rare visits. She was only 10 years old. PA Child Care's beds were filled with young offenders who didn't belong there, prosecutors allege, because its owner was paying kickbacks to Ciavarella. On Monday, the disgraced former judge will stand trial in one of the biggest courtroom scandals in U.S. history — a $2.8 million bribery scheme known as "kids for cash." A state panel that investigated the scandal called Ciavarella "Dickensian" in his treatment of juvenile offenders and said that he reigned over juvenile court in a "harsh, autocratic and arbitrary" manner. The ex-judge has said he didn't believe he was breaking the law. Hillary Transue, 19, plans to watch the trial from afar. Now a college sophomore in New Hampshire, Transue appeared in Ciavarella's courtroom in 2007 and spent a month in a wilderness camp for building a MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal. She did not have an attorney when she went before Ciavarella, nor was she told of her right to one.

Whatever Ciavarella's fate, she said, the important thing is that he no longer wields any power. Ciavarella and another implicated judge, Michael Conahan, left the bench shortly after being charged in January 2009. "I don't care if he's away for seven minutes or seven years," she said. "The man's reputation is destroyed, and he's never going to do this to children again." Ciavarella's attorney declined comment. Court documents outline a scheme in which Conahan, then Luzerne County's president judge, forced the county-run juvenile detention center to close in 2002 and helped PA Child Care LLC, a company owned by his friend, secure contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to house youth offenders at its new facility outside Wilkes-Barre. Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, sent youths to PA Child Care and to a sister facility in western Pennsylvania while he was taking payments from the owner and the builder of the facilities, prosecutors said. He ran his courtroom with "complete disregard for the constitutional rights of the juveniles," in the words of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Megan, whose last name is being withheld by The Associated Press, was perhaps the youngest defendant to appear in Ciavarella's courtroom. At age 10, she had set fire to a piece of paper in her bedroom. She thought she put it out, but the paper smoldered and eventually set her room ablaze. No one was hurt. Though the landlord didn't want to press charges and Megan had no history of delinquency, Ciavarella claimed she committed arson and sent her to PA Child Care. She left the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles.

In an interview with AP, Megan said she was forced to shower naked in front of two or three men her first morning at the facility. She said she assumed they were guards. She said they told her it was a "one-time" requirement. "It made me feel really uncomfortable and nervous and shaking because I didn't want anybody to see me naked, and I was really shy," she said. Megan cried herself to sleep almost every night she was in the detention center. After she got out, classmates teased her mercilessly. She dropped out of school and enrolled in a cyberschool. The trauma has turned a normal, quiet 10-year-old into an angry and withdrawn young woman of 16 going on 17. She's been diagnosed with anorexia. She has also cut herself, as recently as two months ago. Megan said she wants Ciavarella to be sent to prison. "He deserves it. Because now my life, I can't describe it. I've become really depressed all the time. I do things I really shouldn't be doing," she said. "I just want a good therapist, but there are none around there. I'm always so sad." Ciavarella has vigorously denied the allegation that he sent children to PA Child Care in exchange for money.

Testifying in 2009 in an unrelated proceeding, he said he considered the payments he took to be a "finder's fee" for helping to secure county business for PA Child Care. "I did not consider what I did to be illegal," Ciavarella said. "I was told it was legal money. I was told it was something that I was entitled to. And for that reason, I did not have a problem with where that money went or how it came to me." Ciavarella and Conahan initially pleaded guilty in February 2009 to honest services fraud and tax evasion in a deal with federal prosecutors that called for a sentence of 87 months in prison. But their plea deals were rejected by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward M. Kosik, who ruled they had failed to accept responsibility for their actions. A federal grand jury in Harrisburg subsequently returned a 48-count racketeering indictment against the judges. Conahan pleaded guilty to a single racketeering charge last year and awaits sentencing. The scandal sent shockwaves through Pennsylvania's court system. The Supreme Court overturned thousands of juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella. The Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, a panel created by then-Gov. Ed Rendell and the Legislature to investigate the scandal, uncovered a breakdown of state oversight and "serious and chronic malfunction" within Luzerne County's juvenile court system. The commission issued dozens of recommendations last May, from reforming the board that disciplines wayward judges to ensuring that juveniles have access to lawyers to reducing or eliminating the use of shackling in juvenile courtrooms. But change has been slow.

A bill that would have mandated legal counsel for juvenile defendants passed the Senate last year but died in the House. The sponsor, Republican Sen. Lisa Baker, plans to reintroduce the legislation as part of a broader package of juvenile justice reforms. "We need to put these protections into law. I don't want us to fall into the trap that the crisis is passed and that this isn't going to happen again," she said. Youth advocates accuse the Legislature of dragging its feet. "There was an implicit promise that the state was committed to reforming the system and certainly addressing the specific issues that gave rise to the scandal in Luzerne," said Marsha Levick, co-founder and chief counsel of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, which blew the whistle on Ciavarella's harsh treatment of juveniles years before he was charged. "In terms of things the Legislature had a firm ability to control, there's been no forward movement." The Pennsylvania court system, meanwhile, is working on procedural changes that would presume all juveniles to be indigent for purposes of appointing counsel; reduce the use of courtroom shackling; clarify the role of prosecutors in juvenile courts; and enhance victims' rights. The Supreme Court must approve the new rules. John Cleland, a semi-retired state appeals judge who chaired the now-defunct interbranch commission, said he's satisfied that progress is being made. "I wouldn't go so far as to say that anything we've done would prevent a person with a criminal bent from manipulating the system," he said. "But I think it's also true that the safeguards have been enhanced. They're not foolproof, but they are better."

******************************************* RECENTLY RELATED STORY:


NATIONAL BRIEFING | MID-ATLANTIC; Pennsylvania: Cases Dropped

The Associated Press - January 26, 2010

11 comments:

betting man said...

I bet this on-going story makes a few folks in Westchester County New York pretty nervous. I don't want to mention names but I'm sure the likes of "judges" Scheinkman, Nicolai and Lippman are sleeping soundly at night. And the list grows and grows....

Anonymous said...

There is a certain place in hell for these judges.

Kris Sergentakis said...

I was in the federal prison camp in Lewisburg,PA when this occurred. I know exactly what it feels like to be wrongfully imprisoned and I am not a child. The only saving grace is that a lot of the federal Corrections Officers had their own children terrorized by this monster. I would bet he will be given the same treatment this animal gave innocent children. There is a God believe me. Hopefully they will put John Walter in the same cell with this demon.

victim of Nicolai said...

Why hasn't Judge Francis Nicolai been arrested yet?

Hell's Journal said...

What about jail for the PA DA who is also complicit? Judas is at the very center of Hell for betraying trust. These PA judges and so many NY judges will be there with Lippman at the higher heat. What excuse will the Westchester DA, Cuomo and, now, Schneiderman use?

Anonymous said...

It's not just PA! Why don't the Feds come to NY? If they looked they would find a gold mine! But then again they know that already don't they. It must be their masters have given them orders to lay off! Maybe some day they all with have a trial just like these two slugs who got away with murder for so long.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much does Francis Nicolai has taken in kick backs to use courts in child custody cases for the trafficking of minors for sexual performances.

You are all disguisting pigs selling children for child porn and prostitution to sexual predators in child custody cases. I know Lucifer has a special place for you all in his lair.

Anonymous said...

About time the top folks in State who have let these types of scandals go on in NY get smacked down legally of course.

Top pols have all known about it or been told and chose to look the other way or simply do nothing going right up to Executive Chamber folks Nocenti who worked for Eliot Spitzer after Nocenti's Gov Mario days, Andrew's campaign was petitioned, former Gov Mario petitioned, US Senators petitioned and more.

Perhaps the OCA is the big bully and beast here but the other ones permit OCA to operate business as usual. Time for change is Way Way overdue.

krh of hvr

Anonymous said...

The fact is that the judicial system in Luzerne county Pennsylvania (the epicenter of the kids for cash scandal) is corrupt all the way to the PA Supreme Court. This stuff is a very old tradition in this area. I read a book about one man's experience with the corruption in Luzerne call "The Luzerne County Railroad". The book is the story of one man's court battle that laid bare the corruption in the courthouse - even the local papers ran extensive articles about the shameful machinations of a corrupt judge. Some of the articles are pictured in the book. The author, Larry Hohol was a victim of the corruption. This book is hard to read but even harder to put down. I found the book at www.theluzernecountyrailroad.com

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.

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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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