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Judges Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit


At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.

Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”

The answers became a bit clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.

While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.
 If the court agrees to the plea agreement, both judges will serve 87 months in federal prison and resign from the bench and bar. They are expected to be sentenced in the next several months. Lawyers for both men declined to comment.

Since state law forbids retirement benefits to judges convicted of a felony while in office, the judges would also lose their pensions.

With Judge Conahan serving as president judge in control of the budget and Judge Ciavarella overseeing the juvenile courts, they set the kickback scheme in motion in December 2002, the authorities said.

They shut down the county-run juvenile detention center, arguing that it was in poor condition, the authorities said, and maintained that the county had no choice but to send detained juveniles to the newly built private detention centers.

Prosecutors say the judges tried to conceal the kickbacks as payments to a company they control in Florida.

full story at www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/us/13judge.html?_r=3&emc=eta1

(This is going on around the country, folks. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)

Entry #210


konaneComment by konane - February 13, 2009, 7:41 pm
Saw that article, very sad. I hope the state expunges all records of those who've been sentenced by those 'judges'.
truecriticComment by truecritic - February 13, 2009, 7:52 pm
I am in favor of a lot more government employees losing their pension when found guilty of a crime. Especially some of those in Congress with the million dollar packages.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 13, 2009, 9:31 pm
What a shame.   This is like infecting people with HIV to get more funding for a clinic.
time*treatComment by time*treat - February 14, 2009, 12:43 am
@jxp:You mean like www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg-52mHIjhs ? ;-)
TigerAngelComment by TigerAngel - February 14, 2009, 3:33 am
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 14, 2009, 1:04 pm
time*treat - OMG - that was just off the top of my head, but there was once a Law & Order CI episode where a company actually did this. I remember it, since I've seen every L&O CI episode at least once. Anyway, a drug company had HIV infected medicine they sent to other countries and it was for hemophilia. I haven't seen this in the media. I know that a year or 2 ago there was a fake email telling people to dump their Bayer aspirin because it was tainted with the HIV virus.   Then there was FACTOR AID which was also a rumor. I'd be interested in seeing something in the NY Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, etc. .... even USA Today!
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 14, 2009, 1:55 pm
In the old west when the sheriff didn't catch a horse thief, the town folk took it upon themselves to catch the thief, take him to the nearest tree and hang him. Then they went back to town, put the sheriff on his horse and kicked him out of town (or hanged him too if he was complicit).

Maybe it's time to revisit the Rule of Law...the Rule of Man isn't working.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 14, 2009, 3:36 pm
Rick, one of my favorite movies is The Oxbow Incident with Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews. So just remember that hanging isn't always the solution. You can't bring someone back from the dead.

Let's just start out own country.   
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 14, 2009, 3:37 pm
Oops! Sorry. Maybe that's not such a great idea. After all, if we're "perceived" as a threat, the US might invade it.
time*treatComment by time*treat - February 14, 2009, 5:15 pm
@jxp: the name of the drug is "Factorate". I aim to please - here's your nyt article :-)

You've got to remember that most of these types of stories get "disappeared" after 30 days or you have to pay to read them - long before most people even hear of the event.
Rick GComment by Rick G - February 14, 2009, 7:42 pm
@justx...no pun intended but I think the American citizens are at the end of their rope with the lawlessness of judges, police, elected officials, political appointees, corporations, CEOs, bankers, lawyers, intelligence services, presidents, world governments, globalists, aides, advisers, Secretary of (fill in blank), etc.

Instead we can focus on the "lawlessness" of Michael Phelps.
justxploringComment by justxploring - February 15, 2009, 12:21 am
Rick, don't get me started about Michael Phelps. I agree he's been treated very unfairly.

time*treat, Thanks for doing the research. I wasn't saying I doubt drug companies poison people. After all, Teflon hasn't been banned AFAIK and the chemical used to make it is toxic and is released into the air. What I meant by "I want to see..." is that I like to read the same articles in newspapers to give them validity. Again, I'm not saying the everything we read in the news is true either. But I think you know what I mean. (or not!)

So that was 1987. I guess that Law & Order show I mentioned was based on the Factorate case.

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