Three judges have plead guilty on corruption charges in PA.
Luzerne County Judges Mark Ciavarella, Michael Conahan and William Sharkey, all democrats, pleaded guilty last week to fraud charges after prosecutors accused them of taking kickbacks to send juvenile offenders to private detention centers.
All three men face up to 10 years in prison.
From The ABA Journal:
"Prosecutors said the kickback scheme began in December 2002, when the judges shut down the county juvenile detention center on the ground it was in bad shape and said juveniles should be housed at two private centers, according to the Times account.
Ciavarella says he only sentenced juveniles to detention centers if they deserved it, but his record is tougher than the norm, the Times story says. He sent one-fourth of juvenile defendants to detention from 2002 to 2006, compared with a state average of 1 out of 10, the story says.
Juveniles have a constitutional right to counsel, but about half the juveniles appearing before Ciavarella had waived that right, the Times says. Only Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina require representation for juveniles.
The case has spurred the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review all juvenile cases decided in Luzerne County in the last five years and all appointments by the judges in the last seven years.
Former Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta attended the hearing. She has said she reported improper conduct by the judges to the FBI, according to the Legal Intelligencer article. The state’s judicial discipline body banned Lokuta from the bench in December based on findings that she belittled her staff, used court personnel to clean her home and created a warlike atmosphere with other judges."
What you will find missing from the ABA Article along with just about every other news source that is running this story is the political affiliations of the judges. All of which are Democrats.