Thursday, March 26, 2009

Setting the Record Straight

According to today's New York Times, "The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on Thursday ordered the slate cleaned for hundreds of youths who had been sentenced by a corrupt judge."

The corrupt judges, Judge Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan, conspired to collect kickbacks--over two and half million dollars--for sentencing juveniles to lengthy stays at private detention centers.

What kinds of kids received the bogus sentences? Kids like Hillary Transue, a stellar student who'd never been in trouble. Her offense: a My Space page that mocked her school's assistant principle. The page even acknowledged that its contents were but a joke. No joke, however, was her sentence--taken away in handcuffs to spend three months at a juvenile detention center.

Marsha Levick, a lawyer with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, commented, “Our view is that every kid who appeared before Judge Ciavarella was denied an impartial tribunal.”

The judges got away with their scheme for five years, despite operating openly in Pennsylvania's criminal justice system.

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