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BlueAngel
02-27-2009, 06:38 PM
Class-action suit filed in corrupt judges case | Philadelphia Inquirer | 02/27/2009 (http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20090227_Class-action_suit_filed_in_corrupt_judges_case.html)

Posted on Fri, Feb. 27, 2009

Class-action suit filed in corrupt judges case
By John Sullivan

Inquirer Staff Writer

Two Luzerne County judges used youths as "commodities that could be traded for cash," attorneys for more than 70 juveniles and their parents alleged in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Scranton.

In failing to disclose $2.6 million in alleged kickbacks from two juvenile centers, Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan violated the right of every juvenile defendant to a fair and impartial trial, says the suit, which seeks class-action status. Thousands of county youths were sentenced to the facilities.

The judges pleaded guilty this month to charges that they had failed to disclose and pay taxes on payments from two juvenile centers, PA Child Care L.L.C. and Western PA Child Care L.L.C. Each has agreed to serve more than seven years in federal prison.

Both judges have declined to comment until sentencing but have said through their attorneys that they never sentenced children for money.

A half-dozen other defendants also are named in the suit, including the shell companies allegedly used to move around the tainted money and the owners and builders of the juvenile centers.

Calling the scope of the alleged scheme "profoundly shocking," the suit for the first time portrays the massive toll of the Luzerne County Courthouse scandal, which has ensnared a half-dozen court officials.

"This is one of the worst judicial scandals in history," said Daniel Segal, a lawyer at Hangley, Aronchick, Segal & Pudlin. He is working pro bono on the case along with the Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit that advocates for juveniles' legal rights.

"The people you're stepping on are the true, true little guys," he said.

Some of the cases in the civil action describe children as young as 13 being sent to harsh wilderness camps and detention centers for crimes as petty as stealing loose change from cars or shoplifting.

The suit alleges that Ciavarella never informed juveniles appearing before him of their right to an attorney and allowed them to plead guilty without understanding the consequences of such a plea. In addition, the suit says, the court garnisheed the wages of parents to pay for their detention.

Marsha L. Levick, an attorney with the law center, said that as many as 2,500 youths Ciavarella sentenced between 2003 and 2008 may have been wronged.

"Thousands of these children . . . were victims of a wave of unprecedented lawlessness" that changed the trajectory of their lives, the center wrote in the suit.

According to the suit, Ciavarella sentenced one 13-year-old boy who had lied to 93 days in a wilderness camp for perjury. The boy was not represented by an attorney in the case. The boy's father had to pay $150 a week for his son's stay.

One child was allegedly sent away for stealing a $4 jar of nutmeg.

Such harsh treatment, advocates say, runs contrary to the basic tenet of the juvenile justice system, which presumes that children can change and that judges should use detention as a last resort.

"The scales of justice are tipped against incarceration in the juvenile system," Segal said.

Also named in the suit were the centers' owners at the time, Robert J. Powell and Gregory R. Zappala. Neither has been charged in the criminal case involving the judges.

Powell has admitted to making payments to the judges but has said through an attorney that it was a mistake he later reported to authorities. The judges, Powell said, were pressuring him to make payments.

Zappala, who is now sole owner of both centers, has not been implicated in the scandal. Zappala's attorney, William Brucker, said he had not seen the suit and could not comment.

The suit seeks to have all profits from the centers returned and put into a fund that would compensate the youths for their emotional distress.

Earlier this month, the law center asked the state Supreme Court to throw out all cases of juveniles convicted under Ciavarella and to expunge their records.

The judge assigned by the court, Berks County Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, began that review yesterday.

Federal prosecutors are undertaking their own review.

Two other multiple-party suits have already been filed over the cases. They are likely to be combined if the judge determines that they meet the qualifications of a class action.



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Many Luzerne cases appear minor
Many of the cases in the civil suit filed yesterday against two Luzerne County judges read like high school high jinks. Some youths were arrested for fighting in school. Others committed minor thefts and still others were in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Typically, such cases would be handled by stern guidance counselors or probation officers. But all of these children were sent to detention centers.

In one case described in the lawsuit, a 14-year-old boy spent 12 months in a facility because he stole loose change from unlocked cars.

The police told his mother at the time of the arrest in 2007 that the child would receive probation. His mother called two lawyers for help, but one said the boy's crime was so minor he had no need for legal help. The other said Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. didn't listen to lawyers, so hiring one would do little good.

Before court, the woman was asked to sign a paper saying she waived the boy's right to an attorney. She said that she wanted a public defender but that court workers told her that would take too long.

The teen pleaded guilty without an attorney and without knowing the consequences, the suit says.

Two lawyers eventually got him released.

The boy's father, who pays child support, was ordered to pay that money to the probation department instead. The court also ordered the teen to pay $1,900 in restitution. The case was so traumatic that the boy is now being home-schooled, the lawsuit says.

– John Sullivan

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As you can imagine, I am all about protecting children.

I hope these judges rot in hell along with the owners/operators of the WILDERNESS CAMPS/DETENTION CENTERS.

I want to know the names of the detention centers; the wilderness camps; where they are located and what the children experienced there.

All of the pertinent information.

Why are these camps so desperate for CHILDREN who committed petty crimes such as stealing change from cars; and a jar of peanut butter?

Why are these corrupt judges sitting on the bench aiding and abetting these wildnerness/detention centers?

Who owns them?

Who funds them?

Again.

Why are they so desperate for CHILDREN?

I am certain that many of these children are less fortunate.

Meaning that their parents did not have the means to properly protect them from these predators.

I AM UPSET.

VERY UPSET.

I want those persons reponsible for sending children to these TRAMAUTIC camps incarcerated.

Not just the judges.

I want to know who operates these CAMPS; who paid the judges to PREY ON CHILDREN and I want them in prison.

I want to know of this practice that exists in every other state.

OUR JOB IS TO PROTECT CHILDREN.

If you are a judge and are being paid not to do so, you deserve to rot in hell.

BlueAngel
02-27-2009, 08:12 PM
I want these children, 2,500 of them in Pennsylvania, interviewed.

I want to know where they were sent.

I want to know the names of the employees at these camps and what their duties are.

I WANT TO KNOW THE LOCATION OF THESE CAMPS.

I want to know what happened to these children at these detention centers/wilderness camps.

Do you understand me?

This practice had better cease and desist.

A child who steals a jar of peanut butter, is not a criminal.

Their parents had their wages garnished to fund the internment of their children at these CAMPS.

THAT IS COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT.

These parents had THEIR CHLDREN stolen from them.

The JUVINILE JUSTICE SYSTEM better clean up their act.

Do you hear me?

This is your final and last warning.

This is a crime committed by judges and the owners/operators of these wilderness camps/detention centers and each and every person involved in the KIDNAPPING of these children deserve to rot in hell.

SO BE IT!!

ROT IN HELL!

BlueAngel
03-01-2009, 06:58 PM
Thank you to the attorney's who are working pro bono on behalf of the children who were kidnapped by the State of Pennsylvania with the assistance of corrupt judges.

BlueAngel
03-01-2009, 10:45 PM
Perhaps these judges should be tarred and feathered.

Any judge who sends a child who stole a jar of peanut butter and/or loose change from cars to a wilderness camp/detention center and most of these children being 12 years of age or younger, should be sent to a mental institution for psychological examination and BARRED from the bench for LIFE.

When we speak of a police state, this, my friends, is a perfect example.

Targeting children for petty crimes; disallowing them any representation in a court of law is a POLICE STATE.

The parent's of these children most probably did not have the ability to fight the system.

Again.

Why are these private detention centers and wilderness camps that are funded by the state of Pennsylvania so desperate for children?

You know why and so do I.

Certainly, this practice is not limited to the Pennsylvania.

Cease and desist.

This is your final and last warning!

BlueAngel
03-02-2009, 12:03 PM
These children were kidnapped and held for ransom.

Some of the parents had their wage's garnished to pay for their children's unjust imprisonment.

When I speak of a police state, this is only one aspect to which I am referring.

BlueAngel
03-02-2009, 12:09 PM
Here is another example:

15 Year Old Girl Beaten by Cops:

Police Deputy 'Beats Down' 15 Yr Old Girl In Teen Beaten Caught on Tape (http://www.memphisrap.com/2009/03/01/police-deputy-beats-down-15-yr-old-girl-in-teen-beaten-caught-on-tape/)

Police Deputy ‘Beats Down’ 15 Yr Old Girl
March 1, 2009 by admin
Filed under Featured News, National News, News, Video,

A 15 year old girl is allegedly brutally beaten by a cop of the Seattle, Washington Police and the possible assault, attack was caught on tape.

In Seattle, a King County Sheriff’s deputy was caught on camera beating a teenage girl as she was being ‘locked down’ in a holding cell. Even though the officer can be seen in the footage putting a ‘beat down’ literally on the 15 year old girl in custody, he is still pleading not guilty to assault.

Deputy Paul Schene who is accused of fourth-degree assault including kicking the girl in the stomach, slamming her head against a wall, pulling her hair, and punching her on the ground, at SeaTac City Hall in November, is claiming he was assaulted first.

Schene, an 8 year veteran, claims the 15 year old girl was calling them ‘pigs’ and kicked off her shoes off at him striking him in the shin which can be seen on the camera but what can not be seen is that he says the shoes injured him.

Now, how that explains his brutally physical response, will be up to Schene to explain to a judge as an eager and demanding public awaits reason and disciplinary action even for such seemingly brute force.

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Take his badge!!

BlueAngel
03-05-2009, 09:29 AM
First of all, I could care less that there are seven Merrill Lynch executives who are going to be questioned about the BONUSES they paid to themselves from the bail-out money.

Way to go, New York Attorney General.

WE know they're thieves.

The evidence proves that they are guilty.

It's public knowledge.

Children are sent away to WILDNERNESS CAMPS for stealing a jar of peanut butter, but these thieves will be questioned.

I think the judges who sentenced the over 2,500 children in Pennsylvania alone for PETTY crimes, such as stealing lose change from cars and the executives of financial institutions who paid themselves bonuses from the BAILOUT money should serve time in WILDERNESS CAMPS.

NY AG to question 7 Merrill execs about bonuses (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090305/ap_on_bi_ge/merrill_bonuses)

NY AG to question 7 Merrill execs about bonuses

Print BY STEPHEN BERNARD and IEVA M. AUGSTUMS,
AP Business Writers Stephen Bernard And Ieva M. Augstums,
Ap Business Writers – Thu Mar 5, 7:01 am ET

Reuters – Workers walk past the offices of Merrill Lynch in London January
16, 2009. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

NEW YORK – The New York attorney general's office on Wednesday subpoenaed seven former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives as part of its ongoing investigation into the timing of year-end payments made to executives at the investment bank.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo subpoenaed Andrea Orcel, David Sobotka, Peter Kraus, Thomas Montag, David Gu, David Goodman and Fares Noujaim. The seven were identified in a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday as executives who received some of the largest bonuses at Merrill just days before it was taken over by Bank of America Corp. and weeks ahead of announcing the company lost more than $15 billion in the fourth quarter.

Merrill paid out $3.6 billion in bonuses to top executives in December, with 14 employees receiving bonuses of $10 million or more. Cuomo's office has been investigating the timing of those bonuses to determine if proper disclosure of the size and timing of the bonuses was made to Merrill and Bank of America shareholders.

The attorney general's office is expected to question the former executives — some of whom took positions at Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America after the deal was completed — about their work; their individual bonuses; communications they had with former Merrill CEO John Thain about the bonuses; the size of the bonus pool; and the timing of the payments, a person familiar with the investigation said. The person asked to remain anonymous because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Cuomo's office has been stonewalled in recent weeks in its attempts to get details about individual bonuses. Last week, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis testified about what he knew about the bonuses, but did not provide specifics on individual bonuses.

Lewis' testimony came just days after Thain completed a second deposition with the attorney general's office. Thain initially refused to provide information about individual bonuses, saying Bank of America had instructed him not to disclose the information. Cuomo's office then forced Thain, through a court order, to return for a second round of testimony and provide additional details. It is unclear if Thain provided such details during that round of questioning.

Additionally, information requested from Bank of America in a separate investigation by the North Carolina's Attorney General's office about the bonuses was received by a Wednesday deadline.

North Carolina's Attorney General Roy Cooper made a request for documents from Bank of America about the bonuses. The state's Department of Justice last month issued an "investigative demand" seeking records, including a list of Merrill employees who received bonuses. Bank of America was required to respond by Wednesday, according to the 11-page demand.

Attorney general spokeswoman Noelle Talley said Bank of America has been responsive to the request and "is cooperating with the Attorney General's investigation."

"Attorneys in our office are reviewing the information provided as part of our ongoing investigation," she said.

Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri said the company is cooperating with the N.C. attorney general's office and will continue to provide information "as requested to that office."

Bank of America has repeatedly said Merrill Lynch was an independent company last year, and its board of directors had ultimate approval over how much to pay employees.

But the bonuses apparently were a point of contention for Bank of America. The initial reports of the bonuses came just days after Bank of America received an additional $20 billion from the government that it said it needed to help offset the losses it was absorbing from the Merrill acquisition. The additional support was provided to Bank of America as Lewis showed trepidation about completing the deal to acquire Merrill.

Thain resigned from his position as head of global wealth management at the combined company in January just as news of the bonuses first broke.

The government helped orchestrate the acquisition of Merrill by Bank of America over the same weekend in September that another investment bank, Lehman Brothers, went under, setting off the most intense period of the financial crisis.

_____

AP Business Writer Ieva M. Augstums in Charlotte, N.C. contributed to this report.

BlueAngel
03-08-2009, 09:11 AM
Thank you John A. Sullivan for continuing to report on this story.

A corrupt judge, a damaged life | Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/08/2009 (http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20090308_A_corrupt_judge__a_damaged_life.html#comm ents)

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The boy, Charlie, who is the subject of this story, was sent into the courtroom without representation, pleaded guilty and removed in shackles for buying a stolen scooter.

He was taken to a room so full of GIRLS and BOYS that he had to stand against the wall.

He was evaluated and the psychologist, who is the brother-in-law of one of the judges determined he was anti-social.

He was given drugs at one of the detention centers.

His father, who is a janitor, paid $110.00 bi-weekly for Charlie's internment.

When he couldn't keep up with the payments, he was threatened with jail.

Two of the DETENTION CENTERS are privately owned and funded by the COUNTY and the judge's received kick-backs from these centers to kidnap children.

HOW DID THIS SITUATION EXIST for so long without any exposure?

Didn't anyone within the LEGAL system have the BALLS to stand up for these children and what was occurring in these corrupt Judge's courtrooms?

As I've always said, they prey on the less fortunate.

There is more going on here and I'M CERTAIN it will be exposed.

BlueAngel
03-08-2009, 09:21 AM
Apparently, these two judges were instrumental in closing a county-owned juvenile detention center and helping these two private LLC's obtain funding from the county.

Did they need private centers so the kick-backs paid to the judges would appear to be from these LLC's and not the county?

BS!

The county FUNDED these private centers and that's where the money paid in kick-backs came from.

These two private LLC's were doing exactly what the county wanted them to do.

KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

BlueAngel
03-08-2009, 11:58 AM
Obviously, there are people who were courageous enough to uncover this story and make it public.

Whether you know it or not, you are HEROS in the eyes of us all.

The innocent children who fell prey to these predators; their families and the rest of society who aren't immoral and corrupt.

I assure you, this is not an isolated INCIDENT.

I assure you, this practice occurs all over the country.

You know it and I know it.

The owners/operators of the LLC's should be prosecuted for paying judges to KIDNAP children as well as those doctors and psychologists who drugged them.

Everyone who knowingly participated in this CRIMINAL organization should be prosecuted and/or come forward with any and all pertinent information as to what occurred at these centers, inside the courtroom, etc.

Why isn't this on CNN?

Why isn't it on Dateline?

Why not on 60 Minutes?

BlueAngel
03-08-2009, 08:46 PM
I find it amazing that the JUDGES agreed to serve seven years.

Why wasn't there a trial?

Are they immune to the same system they served without honor because they are CORRUPT judges who worked for the CORRUPT powers within the state of Pennsylvania who funded this CRIMINAL organization?

Where will they be serving their sentence?

Will they be barred from the bench for life?

To the men and women who worked behind the scenes to uncover this story, I consider you to be the epitome of integrity.

Bless you!

BlueAngel
04-16-2009, 07:23 PM
I'm looking for an article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer several weeks ago that connected these two corrupt judges to the Mafia.

Thanks.

BlueAngel
04-16-2009, 07:27 PM
Corrupt Pa. judge seeks dismissal of kids' lawsuit (http://www.blnz.com/news/2009/03/31/Corrupt_judge_seeks_dismissal_kids_8406.html)

Corrupt Pa. judge seeks dismissal of lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of locked-up children

Staff
AP News

Mar 31, 2009 20:46 EDT

A Pennsylvania judge who pleaded guilty to corruption is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of children who allege he violated their civil rights by taking money in exchange for sending them to private detention centers.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) says he's entitled to judicial immunity for decisions he made from the bench, even if those decisions were corrupt.

Ciavarella and former judge Michael Conahan have pleaded guilty to fraud. Prosecutors say they took more than $2 million in kickbacks from private juvenile detention centers. They each face more than seven years in prison when they are sentenced.

The suit filed by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center is one of three civil actions faced by Ciavarella, Conahan and others.

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Sorry, pal.

But you're not entitled to anything.

The less fortunate children in our society whom you preyed upon are entitled.

Not you.

You are entitled to JAIL time.

You abused your power.

You are a disgrace to society.

BlueAngel
04-16-2009, 07:34 PM
Found one of the articles about the Mafia connection.

Paper: $3.5M defamation award fixed by Pa. judge (http://www.blnz.com/news/2009/02/19/Paper_35M_defamation_award_fixed_8436.html)

Paper: $3.5M defamation award fixed by Pa. judge

Newspaper says $3.5 million defamation award fixed by corrupt Pa. judge, wants it overturned

MICHAEL RUBINKAM
AP News

Feb 19, 2009 17:12 EST

A newspaper said Thursday that a $3.5 million defamation award against it was fixed by a corrupt judge with connections to a reputed mobster at the heart of the case.

The extraordinary claim was made by the parent company of The Citizens' Voice in court papers asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the 2006 award by Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, who recently was convicted in a kickbacks scheme.

The Supreme Court should "vacate a judgment that very likely was a product of a corrupt judicial system," the paper said in a legal filing that signaled the widening fallout from one of the worst judicial corruption scandals in recent U.S. history.

Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges last week after prosecutors said they took $2.6 million in kickbacks to send juveniles to privately owned youth lockups, possibly tainting thousands of convictions. The judges each face more than seven years in prison.

The state Supreme Court has assigned a judge from Berks County, about 85 miles south of Luzerne County, to review Ciavarella's juvenile cases dating back five years.

On Wednesday, a man challenged his 2008 sentence on a federal drug charge because it was partially based on the fact that he had a juvenile conviction years earlier handled by Ciavarella.

In The Citizens' Voice defamation case, Ciavarella awarded damages to a businessman in a lawsuit against the Wilkes-Barre newspaper. The paper had linked the businessman to William D'Elia, the reputed boss of the Bufalino crime family of northeastern Pennsylvania, who was sentenced to prison last year for witness tampering and conspiracy to launder drug money.

Ciavarella awarded $2 million to the businessman, Thomas Joseph, and $1.5 million to one of his companies, Acumark Inc., a direct-mail marketing firm. The state Superior Court upheld the judgment on appeal, ruling that 10 newspaper articles, some of which cited anonymous sources, were inaccurate and "resulted in a falsehood" against Joseph and Acumark.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the daily tabloid said the Superior Court was unaware of the judges' corruption when it upheld the defamation award.

In court documents filed Thursday, the newspaper said it had uncovered evidence that "strongly" suggests the $3.5 million nonjury verdict was "fixed" by Ciavarella and Conahan.

The paper said it had identified a potential witness who "would testify concerning direct connections between D'Elia and Judge Conahan and/or Judge Ciavarella." It didn't reveal the identity of the witness or disclose what the evidence was.

The paper said the judges and Luzerne County's court administrator, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement this week in another corruption case, manipulated policies regarding assignment of court cases to ensure Ciavarella heard the defamation suit.

George Kroner, an attorney for the businessman who won the judgment, criticized the paper's petition as "completely without merit," saying the defamation case had "absolutely nothing" to do with the kickbacks scandal.

An attorney for Ciavarella declined to comment Thursday. Conahan's lawyer did not immediately return a phone message.

Adam Graycar, who leads the Rutgers Institute on Corruption Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said he wasn't surprised the judges' decisions in other cases were coming under attack.

"What this demonstrates so strongly is that judges must have enormous integrity, because otherwise, you can't start to separate it out," he said.

But University of Pittsburgh law professor John Burkoff said defendants who appeared before Ciavarella or Conahan must show misconduct in their cases to stand any chance of getting verdicts or judgments overturned.

"You can't just say, 'These are bad judges, therefore everything they did was bad,'" he said.

Source: AP News