I wrote about corrupt Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan several months ago, on a post that drew our first InstaPundit link. Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has more:
State panel hears how corrupt judges affected youths¹
By Mario F. Cattabiani, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
WILKES-BARRE – Three days after Christmas 2004, a 13-year-old boy appeared before Luzerne County Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. on a charge of simple assault. He was accused of throwing a piece of meat at his mother’s boyfriend.
The boy was all of 4 feet, 3 inches tall, and he weighed 82 pounds.
Ciavarella sent him to a juvenile detention center for 48 days.
“I really couldn’t believe that being accused of something like throwing a steak was all that was needed to be put away,” the thin, soft-spoken young man, now in his late teens, testified Thursday to the state panel examining the “kids-for-cash” scandal in Luzerne County’s courts. “I was suddenly so lonely, I felt sick. No one was able to help me or stop this.”
Much more at the link.
Al Gort has been all over the Luzerne County corruption scandals; he specializes in political reporting from northeastern Pennsylvania, so this is his bailiwick. But it occurs to me that prosecutors, including those working in juvenile crime, know what individual judges are like; they know who’s tough and who’s not; defense attorneys, including public defenders, know who’s tough and who’s not. How, I wonder, did the 13-year-old boy mentioned in the first paragraph in the story ever wind up in front of Judge Ciavarella? How did juvenile justice authorities, who had to have known that Mr Ciavarella was the “hanging judge” type, decide to send a kid like that into the system in the first place?
Maybe Al Gort knows more, but it seems to me that a whole lot of people enable the “Juvie Brothers,” whether they were in on the scam or not.
¹ – The Philadelphia Inquirer, Good Friday, 2 April 2010, p. B-1