Federal Judge Throws Out Plea Agreement on Pennsylvania Judges in Juvenile Sentencing Scandal

gavel2There is a surprising development in the case of former Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan in Pennsylvania. U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik has rejected the plea bargain given the two former judges who previously pleaded guilty in a scheme to steer juveniles to for-profit detention facilities for $2.6 million in kickbacks. The decision of Kosik shows the dangers of defendants speaking to the media between pleas and sentencings.


Many observers objected to the 87-month sentence for the two judges as insufficient. Now, they face the choice of withdrawing their pleas or accepting Kosik’s re-sentencings.

judge-mark-ciavarella-247x300The problem occurred after the guilty plea. Ciavarella made comments after his plea that indicated that he still claimed innocence. Kosik also noted with disfavor objections filed by Conahan to the presentencing report. Conahan, the court notes in the order below, refused to discuss his motivation with the probation staff and denied critical facts in his plea. He calls these objections “obstructive.” For his part, Ciavarella (right) is not criticized for his presentence interviews or report but is criticized for public statements where he denies that there was a quid pro quo — the central allegation in the plea agreement.

For a copy of the order, click here.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “Federal Judge Throws Out Plea Agreement on Pennsylvania Judges in Juvenile Sentencing Scandal”

  1. Hooray for Judge Kossik. The sentences agreed upon for these two ex-Judges were far too little for the lives harmed and the lives destroyed. That one had the effrontery to make a plea bargain and then state he was innocent is intolerable. While I understand that sometimes, wrongly so, a possibly innocent person is forced to plea bargain, to avoid a draconian sentence in this instance the betrayal and behavior of these Judges went beyond heinous. If the result of this is a trial that will further detail the egregious nature of the actions committed that is to the public good.

    Isn’t though the hidden problem in this the fact that our court systems are underfunded and court costs are viewed as wasted money. In a system that purports to live under the rule of law, awaiting years for trials, crowded court calendars, over worked public defenders and the resultant plea bargains cheapen the quality of justice we dispense.

  2. Slartibartfast,

    Yea, just imagine the jackass being asked, after the first encounter, “Are you hurt?” …

    To which the learned replies, “Is I hurt? he don’t write, he don’t call …”

  3. Buddha,

    I don’t think it would really have mattered, if the “judges” talked to the media or not. These judges clearly abused the public trust bestowed upon them.

    Respect for the judiciary has to be had. Or else the system that is already collapsing would further rot from the decay within.

    Now if we could just get this same judge to release the detainees!!!

  4. I don’t think it would really have mattered, if the “judges” talked to the media or not. These judges clearly abused the public trust bestowed upon them.

    Respect for the judiciary has to be had. Or else the system that is already collapsing would further rot from the decay within.

    Now if we could just get this same judge to release the detainees!!!

  5. roflol

    Awwww. How’s it feel to be “wrongfully” in the grinder, “judges”?

    Boo

    fraking

    hoo.

    You should have thought about that while you were screwing with the futures of minors for personal profit, scumbags. There is a word I’m thinking of and that word is “example”. The other word bumping around in there is “justice”.

  6. This commoner thinks that the defendant judges should have known better than to speak publically about the pleas.

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