[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
I don’t know if you have been following this story, but it’s pretty awful. A pair of judges were accused of getting kickbacks from privately run detention facilities—that is, if they sent kids to juvenile detention facilities, in exchange for money. And while I don’t have very good quotes here, but following the story I have seen examples where the kids in question were very likely innocent, or committed such a minor offense they didn’t deserve any time in detention, but they got it anyway.
Fortunately those kids have gotten a little justice.
Former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. has been found guilty of 12 of 39 counts of corruption filed against him, a federal jury in Scranton announced today.
The 12 men and women, who deliberated for an estimated 12.5 hours, returned to U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Edwin M. Kosik’s courtroom to announce their findings, which included decisions that Ciavarella was guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy and a host of tax fraud charges. Ciavarella was cleared of extortion, bribery and honest services wire fraud charges, however.
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter Smith had praise for the verdict, saying it “puts the lie” to the claim that corruption in Northeast Pennsylvania is the status quo.