Judge Sentenced To 28 Years For Selling ‘Kids For Cash’ To Prisons

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Judge Sentenced To 28 Years For Selling ‘Kids For Cash’ To Prisons

Post by admin » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:02 am

A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison for selling “kids-for-cash.”

The bribery scandal made headlines when Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was alleged to have taken $1 million in bribes from juvenile detention centers to fill their cells with children who came before him in court.

The Associated Press says the following:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed 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 charges earlier this year. His attorneys had asked for a “reasonable” sentence in court papers, saying, in effect, that he’s 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.


Judge Sentenced To 28 Years For Selling ‘Kids For Cash’ To Prisons

November 30, 2017

A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison for selling “kids-for-cash.”

The bribery scandal made headlines when Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was alleged to have taken $1 million in bribes from juvenile detention centers to fill their cells with children who came before him in court.

The Associated Press says the following:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed 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 charges earlier this year. His attorneys had asked for a “reasonable” sentence in court papers, saying, in effect, that he’s 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.

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The Times Leader reports that the court house in Scranton was overflowing as over a dozen people who had been essentially “sold” to prisons by the judge turned out to exchange horror stories.

Jeff Pollins’ stepson was convicted by Ciavarella. He turned out to eagerly awaiting the judge’s sentencing.

“These kids are still affected by it. It’s like post traumatic stress disorder,” Pollins said to the Times Leader. “Our life is ruined. It’s never going to be the same… I’d like to see that happen to him,” he added.

Now that Ciaverella has been locked up, that solves one problem but raises an important question that few are asking: Was this an isolated incident or are there more just like him who have made similar deals with prisons across the United States?

The fact that this sort of bribery would even be proposed to the judge suggests that this is a much broader problem, and this one incident was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

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Corrupt ‘Kids for Cash’ judge ruined more than 2,000 lives

Post by admin » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:29 am

https://nypost.com/2014/02/23/film-deta ... f-scandal/
ciavarella_verdict_1_89205127.jpg
ciavarella_verdict_1_89205127.jpg (81.13 KiB) Viewed 544 times
Hillary Transue, 14, created a fake, humorous Myspace page about her school’s vice principal.

Justin Bodnar, 12, cursed at another student’s mother.

Ed Kenzakoski, 17, did nothing at all.

It didn’t matter.

As we see in the documentary “Kids for Cash,” which opens Friday, all three Luzerne County, Pa. teens met the same fate for their minor infractions.

They were hauled into court with their parents, sometimes ­after being persuaded — coerced, according to at least one parent — by police to waive their right to ­legal counsel.

They were brought before Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and, without warning or the chance to offer a defense, found themselves pronounced guilty, shackled and sentenced to months of detention in a cockroach-infested jail.

They were trapped in the juvenile justice system for years, robbing most of them of their entire high-school experience.
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Hillary Transue was sent to juvenile detention for making a fake Myspace page for her teacher.AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Judge Ciavarella, who sentenced around 3,000 children in a similar manner, was later sentenced himself to 28 years in prison for financial crimes related to his acceptance of $2.2 million as a finder’s fee for the construction of a for-profit facility in which to house these so-called delinquents.

The scandal was called “Kids for Cash,” and it rocked the state in 2009 — for the accusation that Ciavarella was happy to tear families apart in exchange for the payoff.

Kenzakoski was diagnosed with ADD before he was 10 and drinking by 14, and his parents were so worried about him that his father developed a plan to scare him straight.

Along with two police officer buddies, Kenzakoski’s father planted a marijuana pipe in the boy’s truck, hoping he would be arrested and turned around after a confrontation with the authorities.

But the second part of that plan went awry, and Ciavarella sent the boy away.

In the film, Bodnar recalls how, shackled and torn from his home for saying a dirty word, he approached the facility on a convict bus and saw the 20-foot razor wire.

“I’m now one of those people you see in the movies,” thought the 12-year-old, who would smoke pot for the first time three months later, influenced by “living around criminals” in a facility intended to make him a better person.

After her release from incarceration, Transue returned to school with a stigma, viewed as a criminal by her teachers and under watch from her probation officer, who kept an office in the school.

Mark Ciavarella was elected to a 10-year-term as Luzerne County judge in 1995, on a platform of getting tough on teen crime. Much admired for his stance, he was a frequent speaker at schools and was re-elected in 2005.

Knowing he was sending children to a run-down detention facility, Ciavarella decided a new one was needed and approached power broker Judge Michael Conahan, who assembled an investor group to build a private, for-profit detention facility named PA Child Care.

Ciavarella was paid a finder’s fee of 10 percent of construction costs, or $2.2 million, by its builder.

Undone by a tip from a reputed underworld friend of Conahan’s, among other information, Ciavarella had 2,480 of his convictions reversed and expunged.

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