Saturday, February 28, 2009
"At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke. ... 'I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of hightmare,' said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007 [to three months]. 'All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.' The answers became clearer on Thursday as the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care. ... 'In my entire career, I've never heard of anything remotely approaching this,' said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. ... Prosecutors say the judges tried to conceal the kickbacks as payments to a company they control in Florida. ... But [AUSA] Gordon A. Zubrod said after hearing that the government continues to charge a quid pro quo. 'We're not negotiating that, no,' Mr. Zubrod said. 'We're not backing off.' ... For years, youth advocacy groups complained that Judge Ciavarella was unusually harsh. He sent a quarter of his juvenile defendants to detention centers from 2002 to 2006, compared with a state rate of 1 in 10. He also routinely ignored requests for leniency made by prosecutors and probation officers. ... Clay Yeager, the former director of the Office of Juvenile Justice in Pennsylavania, said typical juvenile proceedings are kept closed to the public to protect the privacy of children", Ian Urbina and Sean Hamill at the NYT, 13 February 2009, link:
Compare this to what regularly goes on in the DOJ. The DOJ sees kickbacks to a judge as "quid pro quo", but not law firm partnerships or law firms' fees, see my 31 December 2008 post: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2008/12/justice-department-extortion-racket-4.html. We can't see all the prosecutions the DOJ squashes to protect rich miscreants, squashed and paid for in legal fees.