Cashing In On The Kinder: Pennsylvania Judges Plead Guilty To Massive Corruption Charges

gavel2Prosecutors in Allentown are accepting pleas in one of the most disturbing cases of alleged judicial corruption in years. Two Pennsylvania judges was accepted generous plea bargains after taking more than $2 million in kickbacks to send youth offenders to privately run detention centers. The allegations suggest these judges intentionally sent kids to jail to gain personally. The charges named Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan and 14 other defendant.

The indictment alleged that Ciavarella and Conahan took in $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in lockups run by PA Child Care LLC and another company.

Given the allegations, the judges got a sweet deal of no more than seven years in prison. Thousands of offenders may have been affected by the corruption, including many whose lives were ruined unnecessarily. I find a maximum of seven years to be an insult to both these families and the court system as a whole.

One such kid, Bernadine Wallace was 14 years old when she was pressure to plead guilty to terroristic threats in the course of an argument on MySpace. It was a ridiculous case but Ciavarella sent her to a youth wilderness camp.

Another teen was incarcerated for attacking an assistant principal on her MySpace page.

Obviously, these sentences were not just the result of corrupt judges but prosecutors who pushed for incarceration in these cases. This may help explain the insulting plea given these judges.

There have been a series of recent cases of what appears light treatment of judges who cross the criminal line, here and here. The plea is particularly light given the public outrage expressed by Ciavarella.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Cashing In On The Kinder: Pennsylvania Judges Plead Guilty To Massive Corruption Charges

  1. MSNBC Liberal non sequitur as usual, Must have needed some cash.

    When I read the story my first reaction mirrored yours. What went on there for many years must have involved many people, whether directly culpable or merely unwilling to whistle blow.
    The plea deal and light sentences were done quickly to hush this up ASAP, especially given the heavy media coverage. In truth this requires a close review of the Juvenile Justice system in PA and their contracting out what should be a government service.
    My sense to is that there would be grounds for many lawsuits with good possibility of success. Am I correct in believing proving money damages would be a piece of cake in many instances?

  2. Gerry and MSNBC fool,
    Why so early in your trolling? Perhaps faux conservatives like yourselves are threatened by a story like this because it shows the stupidity of let’s make everything outsourcing of government.
    Perhaps you work for the company that was bribing and if that was the case I’m sure you would want to change the subject because you would have much to be ashamed of. The best possibility though is that you get paid to post junk like this because there are parties that don’t want civil liberties to be discussed. In any event you are pathetic and not worth reading or engaging.

  3. And for every Judge Sullivan trying to to their job, there are two of these scumbags.

    I said it before . . .

    “Buddha Is Laughing, February 11, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    And it’s shit like this that guarantees it’s going to get ugly.

    CITE OMITTED (linked to this same story @ HuffPo)

    I bat about .850.

    I stand by my assessment.”

    But that bit about Ciavarella’s “outrage” on MSNBC? Is he insane?

    That’s begging for mob justice, just begging. I know for a fact if he’d railroaded my kid for profit, he should be terrified to leave the house let alone spew that kind of self-serving egoistic crap in public.

    Ciavarella, you never screw with a man’s kid or his dog and not expect payback – I don’t give a damn what your “title” is. And let’s be clear, there is a HUGE difference between YOUR JOB AS PROPERLY DONE and screwing with someone. You WAY crossed that line, sport. You’ve entered “thumpin’ territory”.

    Did you never watch “Big Jake”? You know, John Wanye, 1971? The tag line on the posters was “They wanted gold. They gave them lead instead!” – – Really. Get a clue, you criminally venal jackass. And thanks for helping to destroy the fabric of civilization so you could afford the naked lady tees instead of the standard tees at the golf course. It shows character. Neocon character.

  4. Speaking of Neocon trolls, look what showed up while I was writing and making coffee!

    I can tell you why they are so early, Mike.


  5. MSNBC wrote:

    >Just watched a show with Rachel Maddow, the buzz->cut “journalist” (disk jockey?) who spent nearly an hour >engaging in hatespeech and ridicule against conservative >Americans, Republicans, and American soldiers. I thought I was >going to get news.

    First of all, whatever Rachel said to upset your poor widdle feewings, it’s always been my observation that Rachel is far too kind to “conservative Americans and Republicans”. To my mind, the GOP and its adherents deserve no more than the country’s collective disdain and disgust.

    Secondly, Rachel has NEVER maligned American soldiers which fact makes you a liar.

    Third, Rachel is a news COMMENTATOR, not a reporter or even a jpurnalistHer job is COMMENT on the news as do O’Reillly and Hannity, except with a brain. From Wikipedia: Maddow earned a degree in public policy from Stanford University in 1994. At graduation she was awarded the John Gardner Fellowship. She was also the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship and began her postgraduate study in 1995 at Lincoln College, Oxford. In 2001, she completed her Doctor of Philosophy degree (styled a DPhil) in political science from the University of Oxford. Yeah, a real bonehead.

  6. It is bad enough that judges sometimes inappropriately destroy the lives of adults—who are at least guilty of *something*, through age accumulation alone—but using corrupt ‘jurisprudence’ to harm mostly innocent developing teens is unconscionable.

  7. Just another arrow in the quiver of those like me who believe government has no business contracting out its innate responsibilities to private industry.


    From the article,

    “But some of the children — many who, like Phillip Swartley, are now young adults — have become jaded and believe that their cases were tainted in Ciavarella’s courtroom.

    After being sent to boarding school, Phillip, now 15, became withdrawn and depressed, his mother says.

    “What do these kids see of the legal system and of authority figures?” Amy Swartley asked. “These kids see people who abuse their power. Now, we have a whole county and generation of children who have lost trust in the system.”

    This, among other governmental abuses, is how disintegration starts. Private prisons are one of the stupidest ideas in the long sad history of stupid ideas.

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