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Judges paid off to keep jails full in kids-for-cash scandal

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caskur™
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« on: March 08, 2009, 09:29:04 am »
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  Judges paid off to keep jails full in kids-for-cash scandal 

   
Tony Allen-Mills, New York | March 09, 2009
Article from:  The Australian



LIKE many other 15-year-old schoolgirls, Hillary Transue was not quite as respectful as she might have been towards the teachers at her Pennsylvania school. Yet she was a clever, computer-savvy pupil who had good grades and had never been in serious trouble.

One day, she published a spoof article on a social networking website, mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre. The teacher complained and, to the astonishment of her family, Transue was charged with harassment and hauled into juvenile court.

That was where the family's surprise turned to horror. After studying the case for two minutes, judge Mark Ciavarella sentenced Transue to three months in juvenile detention. She was led out of the court in handcuffs.


Two years later, it is Ciavarella's turn to go to jail and Transue is among several hundred former inmates of local juvenile detention centres who are suing for compensation after one of the US's most sinister judicial scandals of recent times.

The extraordinary case of the Pennsylvania judges who were paid bribes by private prison operators for every child they sent to jail has astounded the country and shamed its judiciary, just as the US Supreme Court is considering another possible landmark case involving alleged judicial corruption.


Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, a fellow judge from Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty last month to taking more than $US2.6million ($4 million) in kickbacks from the operators of two privately run juvenile detention centres. Both men face more than seven years' jail for their roles in a bizarre kids-for-cash scheme that flourished despite newspaper investigations and complaints by families that children were being denied access to lawyers.

Prosecutors alleged that Conahan secured lucrative contracts for private jails, which were paid by the state according to the numbers of inmates they housed. Ciavarella, 58, ensured that the jails were filled with a steady stream of juvenile offenders.

Lawyers for the detention centres have claimed that the scheme was concocted by the judges, who forced the owners to pay up or lose their contracts.


Between 2002 and 2006, Ciavarella is believed to have jailed a quarter of the defendants who appeared in his court, compared with an average of one in 10. In many cases, he first persuaded the parents to waive their rights on the grounds that the process would be cheaper and quicker.

Among the judge's victims was Jamie Quinn, a 14-year-old girl who got into a fight with a friend and ended up slapping her. Her punishment: nine months in juvenile detention. Chad Uca was 15 when he pushed a boy at school, causing him to cut his head on a locker. Uca got three months. Another child was jailed for shoplifting a jar of nutmeg. All were first-time offenders.

Publicity over Transue's case helped to spur a federal investigation and the judges were eventually charged with conspiracy and tax fraud. The case has come at an awkward moment for the Supreme Court, which heard legal arguments last week concerning a West Virginia judge who stood for election with money provided by a local coal baron, then promptly ruled in the businessman's favour in a multi-million-dollar dispute.

The Supreme Court is deciding whether an elected judge should preside over cases involving one of his or her campaign contributors. Critics argue that public confidence in judicial impartiality is likely to suffer if judges rule on cases involving people who have given them money. The Pennsylvania case has proved to be an alarming reminder of the threat of judicial travesty.

The Sunday Times

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25156884-2703,00.html

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caskur™
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2009, 10:26:30 am »
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Now I understand America’s propensity for jailing anything that moves their eyes the wrong way or something…..lol.

It has only just hit me. Over the years, the court sentencing has me intrigued, not only in my country, but other countries too. I find the sentencing system to be laughable and a joke only real live, walking, talking, people, are affected by this and that takes the smile off my face, somewhat.

Daz put up an article on his forum about a 22 yr old UK girl jailed for 5 months for making a false **** report and some of the members wanted her hung. That aside, I personally think jail should ONLY be for violent offences and other forms of punishment should be imposed on non-violent offenders like heavy fines and community service.

There are certainly too many men who are released on bail or avoid prison who are violent. Those guys make a career of it keeping one step ahead of the law because they LOVE to be hauled before courts so they can outwit them…anyway, ….

I understand now why Judge Judy carries on. That woman has lost the plot the way she speaks to some plaintiffs over very small amounts of money to begin with. She also tends to be very inconsistent when families take kids to courts or visa versa. She is overly hard on any females that front the court. Judge Brown, her black male counterpart, is a much fairer judge although these days, he is never on our screens in Australia and I find that a pity not seeing him…..since we have people who suffer Munchausen’s  syndrome then surely there must be a legal equivalent where people want to hang around the courts feeling important….but I digress…

This American system sucks and I hope there is some more investigations into this although I am against “suing”…if they were doing this action for altruistic reasons, they’d get more respect from me and I would have more faith in them....but I don't.
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2009, 01:39:52 pm »
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Pretty girl. Now her life is blemmised.




Hillary Transue, who was sentenced to a wilderness camp for building a spoof MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal, poses in White Haven, Pa., Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. Transue says she did not have an attorney, nor was she informed of her right to one, when she was sentenced by Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella. He was one of two Pennsylvania judges who have been charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
3:23 p.m. ET, 2/11/09






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One day, she published a spoof article on a social networking website, mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre. The teacher complained and, to the astonishment of her family, Transue was charged with harassment and hauled into juvenile court.

3 months detention for a mocking? Ludicrous. Now he will get more of a mocking. I wonder if he feels guilty for sending someone to jail because his little feelings got hurt.

It could be much worse. Here is a drawing of the Gulags Prison system in the USSR. Note how the women are huddled like sardines on one bunk and beneath it.



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caskur™
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2009, 01:57:28 pm »
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Between 2002 and 2006 Ciavarella is thought to have jailed a quarter of the defendants who appeared in his court, compared with an average for other judges of one in 10. In many cases he first persuaded the parents to waive their rights to legal representation on the grounds that the process would be cheaper and quicker.

Among the judge’s victims was Jamie Quinn, a 14-year-old girl who got into a fight witha friend and ended up slapping her. Her punishment: nine months in juvenile detention. Chad Uca was 15 when he pushed a boy at school, causing him to cut his head on a locker. Uca got three months. Another child was jailed for shoplifting a $4 jar of nutmeg. All were first-time offenders.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5864483.ece

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bella
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2009, 08:47:28 pm »
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unbelievable.  i don't know how i missed this.
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 10:58:00 pm »
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Someone needs to make this very public and get him out of office.
This is not justice. It is just a money scam at the expense of children.
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Godfather
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 02:35:47 pm »
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America houses 25% of world's criminals.
I used to wonder when america only has 1% of total world population, where does it get criminals frm?
Nw i knw.
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The war, its nt ovr yet :-(
But I aint a part of it anymore :-)


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caskur
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2009, 12:22:26 pm »
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America houses 25% of world's criminals.
I used to wonder when america only has 1% of total world population, where does it get criminals frm?
Nw i knw.

Most likely poverty.
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