Image

9:41 AM / Friday May 20, 2022

25 Jan 2021

Jailed Pennsylvania kids-for-cash judge loses bid for pandemic release

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
January 25, 2021 Category: Local Posted by:

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A disgraced Pennsylvania judge who locked up thousands of juvenile offenders while he was taking kickbacks from the owner and builder of for-profit detention centers has lost his bid to be released from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Ciavarella, a former Luzerne County juvenile court judge, had requested compassionate release from a federal lockup in Kentucky. The 70-year-old cited his age, his underlying medical conditions that put him at heightened risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and the virus outbreaks that have swept through the prison.ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner ruled this week that Ciavarella, who is serving a 28-year prison sentence, should remain behind bars even though he “arguably established extraordinary and compelling reasons for compassionate release.”

Ciavarella “continues to understate the seriousness of his offense conduct,” Conner wrote, and “persists in downplaying the overall criminal scheme and his role in it.” He noted Ciavarella has served less than half of his sentence.

In what came to be known as the kids-for-cash scandal, Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, shut down a county-run juvenile detention center and accepted $2.8 million in illegal payments from the builder and co-owner of two for-profit lockups. Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, pushed a zero-tolerance policy that guaranteed large numbers of kids would be sent to PA Child Care and its sister facility, Western PA Child Care.

Prosecutors said Ciavarella ordered children as young as 10 to detention, many of them first-time offenders convicted of petty theft and other minor crimes. The judge often ordered youths he had found delinquent to be immediately shackled, handcuffed and taken away without giving them a chance to say goodbye to their families.

Image

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions after the scheme was uncovered.

Conahan, 68, the other judge in the scandal, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. He was released to home confinement last year with six years left on his sentence because of coronavirus concerns.

Last year, Ciavarella lost his bid for a new sentencing hearing after three of the 12 counts of his 2011 conviction were overturned on appeal.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Grand jury indicts gunman Payton Gendron on first degree murder charges

May 20, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email AP–Gunman Payton Gendron, 18, appeared briefly in court to hear that he was...

Education

Community College of Philadelphia hosts 2022 commencement ceremony 

May 13, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Graduates pose during last week’s first full, in-person graduation ceremony since...

Diaspora

New reparations focus: Black enclaves lost to development

May 13, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A wall with a mural separates a housing development, top, from...

Politics

Democrats’ effort to secure Roe v. Wade falls to filibuster

May 13, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Anti-scaling fencing blocks off the stairs to the Supreme Court, Tuesday,...

Week In Review

Daunte Wright’s mother detained after recording traffic stop

May 13, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Katie Wright holds the hand on her injured wrist before a...

Color Of Money

The hidden cost of debt on your mental health and tips to overcome

May 13, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT May is Mental Health Awareness Month and one of the biggest factors...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff