Mark Ciavarella, Jr., a former judge in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is heading to prison for his involvement in the “Kids for cash” scandal. Ciavarella was charged and convicted of mail fraud, racketeering, tax evasion, and money laundering. Ciavarella received millions of dollars from private prison builder, Robert Mericle, in exchange for giving juveniles harsher and longer sentences. Another judge, Michael Conahan participated in the scandal, but pleaded guilty to charges:
Since 2003, Ciavarella received millions of dollars in bribes for condemning minors to maximum prison sentences. In one case, Ciavarella sentenced a 10-year-old to two years in a detention facility for accidentally bottoming out his mother’s car.
According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, over 5,000 young men and women were unjustly sentenced to prison and denied their constitutional rights. Many of them have now been released and cleared of their charges.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by him between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.
Ciavarella was convicted of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and Black Star Journal.
Ciaravella has been sentenced to 28 years in prison. Is the punishment severe enough? How can people who are charged with crimes expect a fair hearing if such corruption exists in the justice system? Should the youth who were sentenced by Ciaravella receive some kind of compensation from the state? Thoughts on this case? Sound off below!!!!