By Sandra Ami
via NY Times
It all started in June 2000 with a simple business proposition, according to the judges’ indictment and more than 40 interviews with courtroom workers, authorities and others.
Robert J. Powell, a wealthy personal-injury lawyer from Hazleton and longtime friend of Judge Conahan, wanted to know how he might get a contract to build a private detention center. Judge Ciavarella thought he could help.
In what authorities are calling the biggest legal scandal in state history, the two judges pleaded guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud in a scheme that involved sending thousands of juveniles to two private detention centers in exchange for $2.6 million in kickbacks.
The conspicuous wealth Judge Ciavarella enjoyed in Florida was a far cry from the rough East End neighborhood in Wilkes-Barre where he grew up and is still known as “the local kid who made it big.”
“You get enough power and you’re bound to start abusing it, I suppose,” Mr. Monaco said.
Parents who arrived with their children typically left without them.
Nicknamed Mr. Zero Tolerance in the courthouse, he once put a father in jail after he could not pay court-imposed fees for his daughter, whom the judge had previously locked up.
“In the end,” Mr. Dallas said, “it all came down to what the judge decided.”
[I just want you all to keep in mind, this is not just an isolated case, this is happening everywhere. Judges are making a fortune off of the children in ever capacity. Children are worth everything. And children are also not given independent council in Dependency cases, the entire courtroom is hired by one administration, that includes the parents council. Private Attorneys are not allowed to defend in these courtrooms. This IS happening where you are, it just has to be investigated and reported, rarely is someone brave enough to do so. Sandra Ami ]
Read the whole story here: http://tinyurl.com/cxeg9b