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JUDGE WATCH: Pa Juvie Judges Get $$$ Rich Off Throwing Kids In Private Jails

Well, maybe the only good thing about this story – aside from the fact that they got caught – is that these judges aren’t from Texas.

Up in Pennsylvania, they’ve got private companies that run the kid jails — you know, like the ones here in Texas that we call “juvenile detention centers.”

And, the Pennsylvania companies have such nice names: “PA Child Care LLC” and its sister company, “Western PA Child Care LLC”. Sounds like day care, right?

Well, apparently getting those government contracts to house these wayward youth wasn’t enough for the BigWigs at PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC. They apparently wanted to insure a steady stream of clientele, so into the story enters Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella, 58, and Michael Conahan, 56.

Seems these two Pennsylvania Juvie Judges (definitely old enough to know better) have allegedly pocketed around $2,600,000 — that’s right, $2,600,000 — provided by the powers that be at the Child Care facilities. And that’s just what we know for the years 2003-2006.

Down here in Texas, that’s called “graft” and it’s really bad when we’re talking KIDS here.
KIDS.

Yep, it gets worse.

Seems that after these two took their cash, they took steps to insure that they would meet their responsibilities to Child Care LLC, and they had these children brought before them without the aid of counsel.

These kids had a right to an attorney to stand with them, and protect their interests. These were kids, they didn’t KNOW they had that right, apparently. So no one told them. Or the Judges hemmed and hawed if they, or their parents, did have the savvy to ask for a lawyer.

Children were sent on ridiculous grounds for cruel stints in these prisons. Because call it some cutesy name like “Child Care” all you want, these are PRISONS.

Just because kids are incarcerated there instead of adults doesn’t make this nicer.

Lives Have Been Forever Harmed Here. Forever. So, What’s Happening Now?

1. The two Juvie Judges pled guilty in federal court, and they’re being sent to prison now.

2. Authorities are combing through their past workloads, and odds are that a great many of these juvie cases will be reviewed, and lots of records will be expunged.

3. The BigWigs at the Child Care companies are still being investigated. And, according to media reports, they’re pointing the finger at the Juvie Judges: apparently, they were forced to pay the moola. They were, in the quoted words of the New York Times, “victims.” Umm Hmmm.

4. Class action suits, brought by several hundred of the kids’ families, were filed against the two Juvie Judges on Friday for civil rights violations.

5. Lawmakers on Friday have called for hearings into the entire juvenile justice system for the State of Pennsylvania.

Sources:

MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29142654/

New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/us/14judge.html?hp


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