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U.S. Judges Admit to Jailing Children For Money
By Jon Hurdle Thu Feb 12, 5:36 pm ET





PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Two judges pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting more than $2.6 million from a private youth detention center in Pennsylvania in return for giving hundreds of youths and teenagers long sentences.

Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, entered plea agreements in federal court in Scranton admitting that they took payoffs from PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare, between 2003 and 2006.

"Your statement that I have disgraced my judgeship is true," Ciavarella wrote in a letter to the court. "My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame."

Conahan, who along with Ciavarella faces up to seven years in prison, did not make any comment on the case.

When someone is sent to a detention center, the company running the facility receives money from the county government to defray the cost of incarceration. So as more children were sentenced to the detention center, PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare received more money from the government, prosecutors said.

Teenagers who came before Ciavarella in juvenile court often were sentenced to detention centers for minor offenses that would typically have been classified as misdemeanors, according to the Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit group.

One 17-year-old boy was sentenced to three months' detention for being in the company of another minor caught shoplifting.

Others were given similar sentences for "simple assault" resulting from a schoolyard scuffle that would normally draw a warning, a spokeswoman for the Juvenile Law Center said.

The Constitution guarantees the right to legal representation in U.S. courts. But many of the juveniles appeared before Ciavarella without an attorney because they were told by the probation service that their minor offenses didn't require one.

Marsha Levick, chief counsel for the Juvenile Law Center, estimated that of approximately 5,000 juveniles who came before Ciavarella from 2003 and 2006, between 1,000 and 2,000 received excessively harsh detention sentences. She said the center will sue the judges, PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare for financial compensation for their victims.

"That judges would allow their greed to trump the rights of defendants is just obscene," Levick said.

The judges attempted to hide their income from the scheme by creating false records and routing payments through intermediaries, prosecutors said.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court removed Ciavarella and Conahan from their duties after federal prosecutors filed charges on January 26. The court has also appointed a judge to review all the cases involved.
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
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And this is how the system works... for profit. How many times has this been said about the prison industrial complex? I've heard about this very thing going on in other places in the U.S. where the judges are board members of 'non-profits' like drug rehabs or profits like businesses supplying or benefitting from prison labor. These judges do not reveal these positions as they obviously represent a conflict of interest. Now maybe people's eyes will be truly opened to this travesty called the justice system.
I've been telling you folks about the level of corruption in this part of Pennsylvania.

You are seeing only a small part.

Several years ago an agency head stole more than a million.

The judge found him guilty, and sentenced him to pay $30/month as reimbursement!!!!

Jailing children for money is much worse.

The county jailer was photographed allowing a pregnant in labor, screaming for help, deliver the baby on a concrete, cell floor with an officer a very few steps away.

Need I tell you the woman was 'black'.

'60 Minutes' has been here.

I don't know when that will broadcast.

And there is more to come.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
And this is how the system works... for profit. How many times has this been said about the prison industrial complex? I've heard about this very thing going on in other places in the U.S. where the judges are board members of 'non-profits' like drug rehabs or profits like businesses supplying or benefitting from prison labor. These judges do not reveal these positions as they obviously represent a conflict of interest. Now maybe people's eyes will be truly opened to this travesty called the justice system.



yeah

you ain't neva lied! In my town, there is a private probation company, but the owners and board of directors are JUDGES who regularly sentence people to probation for traffic violations, especially if they cannot pay it in one lump sum. I've contacted the newspaper about it, but they didn't seem interested in it. It amounts to subversion of the justice system and criminalization of everybody who doesn't have excess cash laying around. This is a way to make sure damn near everybody and his mama is on probation. I found out about this while working with clients at an agency. in the probation office, the judges picture is on a wall, and he is indeed part owner of the company.

How is this happening? I believe it is widespread.
quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
quote:
I've contacted the newspaper about it, but they didn't seem interested in it.


Either, you or, better, someone that was sentenced to probation by that judge for something that a fee should have been imposed should fail a complaint with the State Bar Association ... then send the Bar Complaint to the newspaper.



Thanks Kweli! I will do this tfro
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
And this is how the system works... for profit. How many times has this been said about the prison industrial complex? I've heard about this very thing going on in other places in the U.S. where the judges are board members of 'non-profits' like drug rehabs or profits like businesses supplying or benefitting from prison labor. These judges do not reveal these positions as they obviously represent a conflict of interest. Now maybe people's eyes will be truly opened to this travesty called the justice system.



yeah

you ain't neva lied! In my town, there is a private probation company, but the owners and board of directors are JUDGES who regularly sentence people to probation for traffic violations, especially if they cannot pay it in one lump sum. I've contacted the newspaper about it, but they didn't seem interested in it. It amounts to subversion of the justice system and criminalization of everybody who doesn't have excess cash laying around. This is a way to make sure damn near everybody and his mama is on probation. I found out about this while working with clients at an agency. in the probation office, the judges picture is on a wall, and he is indeed part owner of the company.

How is this happening? I believe it is widespread.


Negrospiritual, do you have a blog?

Dr. Shirley Moore has addressed this issue and many other legal issues affecting our people on blogtalkradio every week. She's the one who made me aware of this scamming, this case in Pennsylvia and you have all just confirmed it.
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
quote:
Originally posted by Yemaya:
And this is how the system works... for profit. How many times has this been said about the prison industrial complex? I've heard about this very thing going on in other places in the U.S. where the judges are board members of 'non-profits' like drug rehabs or profits like businesses supplying or benefitting from prison labor. These judges do not reveal these positions as they obviously represent a conflict of interest. Now maybe people's eyes will be truly opened to this travesty called the justice system.



yeah

you ain't neva lied! In my town, there is a private probation company, but the owners and board of directors are JUDGES who regularly sentence people to probation for traffic violations, especially if they cannot pay it in one lump sum. I've contacted the newspaper about it, but they didn't seem interested in it. It amounts to subversion of the justice system and criminalization of everybody who doesn't have excess cash laying around. This is a way to make sure damn near everybody and his mama is on probation. I found out about this while working with clients at an agency. in the probation office, the judges picture is on a wall, and he is indeed part owner of the company.

How is this happening? I believe it is widespread.


Negrospiritual, do you have a blog?


no. i've thought about it, but i never started one. What's up with your radioshow? Confused Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
I've been telling you folks about the level of corruption in this part of Pennsylvania.

You are seeing only a small part.


Exactly, JWC.

We are only seeing the part that gets/got caught. As usual. Roll Eyes

None of these problems happens in a bubble. And, especially when it comes to us or our children ... you can believe that *isolated* problem is actually magnified about 200-fold.

This is but one story. In one courthouse. In one county. In one state.
There is no way that these are the only two judges in the country guilty of this.

Paying off judges is not the only thing these prison companies do to boost earnings. They lobby states to impose or increase mandatory minimum sentences, and a whole lot else.

And this is a "private PROBATION company?!?" Unbelievable.

I do sincerely hope this story gets enough publicity to start a movement toward abolishing private prisons and the like. The whole concept was insane from the beginning. Meanwhile, the judges, the counties involved and the prison companies involved in this case here need to pay up big time.
This is only the beginning. The hue and cry of the republican party since 1979 has been that the government needs to be smaller and that private enterprise will always be more efficient than the government could ever be. There will be much more of this kind of activity to be revealed.

You would never hear of this on the Rush Limbaugh show
This is the true agenda behind privatization of prisons in the first place.

It works the same way that cowboys herd cattle,

fear
intimidation
meticulously guiding the cattle in the direction the cowboys intend for them to go

Their intentions were for Social Security to be next in line,

then every other social service agency,

then the military (Blackwater was their trial-- and just as they thought Americans did not protest paying a private company to work as soldiers in a US war theater)

then every public service agency,

and on and on, then probably they would rename America to the United States of America, Inc.
Yes, this goes on EveryWhere...

The problem is that no one wants to deal with it given that there is usually a delinquent child involved...they chalk it up to, "they got what they deserved" rather than seeing how these acts completely change a person's life direction.

Some of these kids sitting in the jdc's went on to be true criminals as adults....most likely because of their senseless exposure to this kind off element.

I wonder how the state will remedy THAT?

Long Ago, I heard SomeOne say, "You can always say you are sorry, but you can never take it back".....and that is so true.

Some people's lives have been altered ForEver. There is no amount of money in the world that will remedy that.

....and when you consider how many children are being used like this in "the system", it's heartbreaking....

"Wisdom Is A Woman Who Sees!"
Pa. Judge Gets 28 Years in 'Kids for Cash' Case
 
 

Date: Friday, August 12, 2011
By: Michael Rubinkam, Associated Press

 

 

 

 

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A northeastern Pennsylvania judge was ordered Thursday to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive bribery scandal that prompted the state's high court to toss thousands of juvenile convictions and left lasting scars on the children who appeared in his courtroom and their hapless families.

 

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for taking a $1 million bribe from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as "kids for cash."

 

Ciavarella, who denied locking up youths for money, had no reaction as the sentence was announced. From the gallery, which was crowded with family members of some of the children he incarcerated, someone shouted "Woo hoo!"

 

In the wake of the scandal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.

 

Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering earlier this year. His attorneys had asked for a "reasonable" sentence in court papers, saying, in effect, that he'd already been punished enough.

 

"The media attention to this matter has exceeded coverage given to many and almost all capital murders, and despite protestation, he will forever be unjustly branded as the 'Kids for Cash' judge," their sentencing memo said.

 

Al Flora, Ciavarella's lawyer, called the sentence harsher than expected. The ex-judge surrendered immediately but it was not immediately known where he would serve his time. He plans to appeal both his conviction and sentence.

 

Ciavarella, in a 15-minute speech before the sentence was handed down, apologized to his family, the Luzerne County bar and the community — and to those juveniles who appeared before him in his court. He called himself a hypocrite who failed to practice what he preached.

 

"I blame no one but myself for what happened," he said.

 

Then, in an extraordinary turnabout, Ciavarella attacked the government's case as well as the conclusions of the state Supreme Court and the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, a state panel that investigated the scandal. Both said Ciavarella engaged in wholesale rights violations over a period of many years.

 

Ciavarella denied it.

 

"I did everything I was obligated to do protect these children's rights," he said.

 

He also criticized Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod for referring to the case as "kids for cash," saying it sank his reputation. (Zubrod said outside court that he doesn't remember ever calling it that.)

 

"He backdoored me, and I never saw it coming. Those three words made me the personification of evil," Ciavarella said. "They made me toxic and caused a public uproar the likes of which this community has never seen."

 

In court, Zubrod said Ciavarella had "verbally abused and cruelly mocked children he sent away after violating their rights." He called the ex-judge "vicious and mean-spirited" and asked U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik to punish Ciavarella's "profound evil" with a life sentence.

 

"The criminal justice system (in Luzerne County) is ruined and will not recover in our lifetimes," Zubrod added.

 

Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2 million in bribes from Robert Mericle, the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers, and of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Robert Powell, the facilities' co-owner.

 

Ciavarella, known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom demeanor, pocketed the cash while filling the beds of the private lockups with children as young as 10, many of them first-time offenders convicted of petty theft and other minor crimes. Ciavarella often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families.

 

"Frankly, I don't think Ciavarella or Conahan themselves really personally cared where the juveniles went, as long as they could use their power to place the juveniles as leverage or control over Mericle and Powell," U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said Thursday.

 

Speaking of Ciavarella, Smith added: "There's no true remorse and there's a blind unwillingness to admit the overall seriousness of his conduct."

 

The jury returned a mixed verdict following a February trial, convicting Ciavarella of 12 counts, including racketeering and conspiracy, and acquitting him of 27 counts, including extortion. The guilty verdicts related to a payment of $997,600 from Mericle.

 

Conahan pleaded guilty last year and awaits sentencing.

 

Sandy Fonzo, whose son committed suicide last year at the age of 23 after bouncing in and out of Ciavarella's courtroom, said Thursday that justice was done.

 

"This judge was wrong, what he did to my son, what he did to all of our children, what he did to our families, and today proves that," said Fonzo, who dramatically confronted Ciavarella on the courthouse steps earlier this year.

 

Susan Mishanski also applauded the sentence. Ciavarella had ordered her son to spend three months in a wilderness camp for scuffling with another kid.

 

"They did not even tell him where they were taking him. It was like someone kidnapped my son," she said. "It was awful."

 

Ciavarella and Conahan initially pleaded guilty in February 2009 to honest services fraud and tax evasion in a deal that called for a sentence of more than seven years in prison. But their plea deals were rejected by Kosik, who ruled they had failed to accept responsibility for their actions.

"Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for taking a $1 million bribe from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as . . ."






Why was he not charged with Human Trafficking as well, why was he not charged with slavery, kidnapping, and child abuse.  And, he is just one of countless thousands that have been caught, just imagine if the Justice Department and Eric Holder had to balls to actually do their job in this country.

 

 

Did you notice the amount of the BRIBE? That just goes to show how much money is at stake in the Prison Building Game, and this case is proof that the Prison Industrial Complex Business needs LIVE bodies to make this scam work.  Man, if Black people that are were to just up and stop committing crimes in this country then White people would be screwed; then they would actually have to go after White criminals instead of stumble upon them, for the live bodies needed for this flim-flam game they are playing with people lives, not only that, but it would bankrupt a lot of businesses in the United States and send a lot of very rich people to the poor house.

 

 

 

Fiah fi dem.    I'm glad some justice got served, but I'm with Sunnubian, there should've been more charges.  And I'd prefer him in state prison than federal prison.  He needs some quality time with the general state prison population.  

 

NSpirit, did you ever follow up on the case you wrote about?  

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