Now this take a bit of hubris. Disgraced former Pennsylvania judge Mark Ciavarella has moved to discuss federal lawsuits from juveniles who sent to jail after accepting bribes. tax evasion and depriving the public of their honest services for accepting more than $2.6 million in kickbacks in exchange for rulings that benefited the Pa Child Care and Western Pa Child Care centers. In a motion written by himself, Ciavarella demanded dismissal on . . . you guessed it . . . judicial immunity.
Ciavarella first disgraced the court and the bar by selling his office. Now, when confronted with his alleged victims of judicial corruption, he claims that he cannot be sued because he was acting as a judicial officer.
Ciavarella and former judge Michael Conahan pleaded guilty and must serve 87 months in prison — a remarkably light sentence in my view for what they did to these kids. Notably, they were not required to resign from the bar until 10 days after sentencing, so Ciavarella may continue to act as a lawyer. He will not be formally sentenced for at least a month.
Ciavarella cites a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case called the Supreme Court ruling in Stump v. Sparkman (1978) where a women sued a judge who had her sterilized at the request of her mother who described her as her “somewhat retarded daughter.” The girl was told that she having her appendix removed. The Court ruled that circuit judge had ruled within his jurisdiction and thus was immune from liability “even if his approval of the petition was in error.” Of course, the judge did not received a kickback from the hospital.
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