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Monday, August 10, 2009

State to Study Unparalleled Kids for Cash Scandal

Pa. to study unparalleled juvie scandal
The Associated Press by MARK SCOLFORO - August 8, 2009

HARRISBURG, PA — A special commission was established Friday to study the juvenile-justice corruption scandal at a Northeastern Pennsylvania courthouse, an episode the state’s chief justice described as unparalleled in U.S. history. Gov. Ed Rendell signed legislation that created the 11-member Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice. It has until May to try to determine how the Luzerne County problems arose and recommend ways to prevent them from recurring. Two former county judges pleaded guilty in February to wire fraud and tax evasion in what prosecutors said was a scheme to improperly force juvenile defendants into privately run detention centers in exchange for kickbacks of $2.6 million. A judge threw out the former judges’ plea agreements last week, saying Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan had not adequately accepted responsibility for their actions. Those plea deals had called for sentences of 87 months. “I have never, not only in this state, never in the United States seen a bribery case of this magnitude, and the effect that it’s had on the children’s lives is astounding,” said Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who attended the bill-signing ceremony in the Capitol. The commission’s work will be separate from the review of about 6,000 juvenile convictions that the court system has undertaken, which has already resulted in the expungement of about 800 cases that involve relatively minor charges. Many of the children were locked up after appearing in court without lawyers.

Civil litigation over the judges’ actions also is under way, as about 400 individuals ranging from their teens to their early 20s have filed suit over the alleged violations of their constitutional rights. Castille called it a “system failure” in the county that also extended to court administration and lawyers. “It is possible ... that every record of every juvenile ever dealt with by Ciavarella in that county will be expunged,” Castille said. “But our court wants to make sure that this can never happen again.” Four members will be appointed by legislative leaders, three by Rendell and four by Castille, who said the chairman was likely to be Superior Court Judge John M. Cleland of McKean County. The commission will have subpoena power, and its members will serve without pay. House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, who sponsored the legislation, said the scandal had done “incalculable damage to the scales of justice” and described the commission’s work as “the beginning of the healing for the children of Luzerne County.” Ciavarella told a TV station earlier this week that he was sorry for what he did but had not taken cash to send kids to jail. “I didn’t do anything wrong relative to any juvenile. I never took a dime for sending a kid away,” Ciavarella said.

CLICK HERE TO SEE RELATED STORY, "Judges Accused of Jailing Kids for Cash."


first time reader, and STUNNED said...

Kids for cash?! I never knew about this story. This is unbelieveable! This country has gone to hell and I agree our NYS court system is corrupt!

Anonymous said...

I cried when I read the chief judge of PA say, "“I have never, not only in this state, never in the United States seen a bribery case of this magnitude, and the effect that it’s had on the children’s lives is astounding.”

What has happened to our judges?

Anonymous said...

This is sick.

Anonymous said...

The New York courts are THE most corrupt the nation. My question is why is nobody doing anything about it?

Anonymous said...

A commission, when you need a gallows?

Anonymous said...

exactly. when is any real action going to take place in ny state and family courts? volumes of info has been provided to multiple sources. getting a little old by now. time to begin the cleanup in ny.

Anonymous said...

Is there any difference between this case and what goes on in Rockland County. Judge Linda Christopher deliberately and with glee keeps
children away from their FATHERS.
The other Judges and Lawyers will not
report her because they protect each other at all costs,even as she harms
and often destroys the children.
Lawyers and Judges need to be treated
like criminals until they can prove other wise.
They are EVIL.They are the new MAFIA !

I'm about to throw up said...

Any story regarding "Kids for Cash" makes me SICK to my stomach..Jail these F---- Bastard JUDGES for LIFE!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The only thing to do is to
Jail The Judges.........
Jail The Attorneys.......
It has to be or it will continue...
let them pay for their abuse....
that is the only way it will stop

Anonymous said...

In Orange County Goshen New York judge John K. McGuirk apparently is also selling children in child custody and divorce cases. What is more disturbing is that the latest decision from this judge has led to the children been vicims of child porn and pandering. Hey McGuirk feeling good lately, I hope the feds get you and the corrupt law guardian. What you did to this family and the children is a true crime.

Anonymous said...

Bernadette E. Lupinetti, Esq. helped the documented abuser, steal the children from a good mom. I hope the feds go in and bust these criminals abusing children and victims of sexual assault and violence in Orange COunty. I wonder if Bernadette Lupinetti's husband still has connection with Andrew Cuomo's office, to prevent an investigation against his unethical wife.

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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
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