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August 21, 2009

Crooked state judges make plea to have their plea deals accepted

As noted in this post, a federal judge recently rejected the plea deal secured by two former Pennsylvania county judges who had pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme involving sending juveniles to private detention facilities.  Now, as detailed in this new article from The Legal Intelligencer, the judges are seeking reconsideration of their rejected deals.  Here is how the piece begins:

Two disgraced former Luzerne County, Pa., judges have asked that a federal judge reconsider his decision to reject their plea agreements.

Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. made a joint filing Thursday, petitioning U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik to reinstate their agreed-upon sentence of 87 months in prison because neither could be found at fault for his post-plea hearing actions.  Neither attempted to "obstruct and impede justice" or contradict the government's evidence in public comments, as Kosik had written, the ex-judges argued. In fact, the filing continued, Conahan and Ciavarella only did what the law entitled them to do.

The 12-page memorandum asserts that Conahan's objections to the federal probation office's pre-sentence report were within the guidelines established by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and that Ciavarella was right to make public comments denying "quid pro quo" in the scandal that has been called "kids for cash" in some media outlets.

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August 21, 2009 at 11:09 AM | Permalink


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Let's put it this way, I would rather see Mumia get LWOP than these guys get anything less than life.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 21, 2009 1:02:49 PM

Well, there's more to their chicanery than just sending kids to jail - "cash for kids", so to speak. This came out a couple weeks ago.

Apparently, these two judges gamed their own court system to fix a non-jury defamation case in which the Wilkes-Barre paper and individuals associated with it got hit to the tune of $3.5 million, in favor of the local alleged mob boss and his associates. The alleged local mob boss was a long-time friend and breakfast/lunch partner of one of the judges and, it appeared, hte alleged boss exuded a preternatural confidence of a positive result in his case all through its pendency.

The Pa. Supreme Court appointed an out-of-county judge to investigate (the appeal from the defamation case was pending) and the investigating judge rendered his report: vacate the decisions in the trial court and send it back for a new trial. It's a scorcher.
The report:

The article

Me? I'm a lawyer from a different state who's watched this case, appalled. But not surprised.

Posted by: scribe | Aug 21, 2009 2:18:01 PM

How did these two find their way to become judges in Penssylvania? If I hear "elected" I will groan and then say that 'it figures" and if I hear "selected" then I will really groan. I have largely felt that a non partisan selection process is superior to straight up democracy.

In terms of sentencing, i am more concrerned about the sentences they imposed upon kids and the damage inflicted by criminal records. Evne juvenile records can be used against a defendant in a federal sentnencing situation. If I represented one of these kids I would have the section 1983 complaint on file and summons served before these schmucks were sent off to some bugs bunny joint out in Arizona for white collar criminals. Once they are out of the state the process server has a hard time and the deposition becomes iffy. The measure of damages for punitive damages should be every cent each one has "earned", above the table and below, since law school.

Posted by: mpb | Aug 22, 2009 10:41:15 PM

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