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Orange County Bar Association

Corrupt Judge Incarcerated Juveniles for Profit

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

In Pennsylvania a juvenile court judge was convicted of racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy for a total of 12 counts. The crime involved receiving money from a detention center in exchange for sentencing juveniles to that particular facility. The judge, Michael Ciavarella allegedly worked to close the county juvenile facility then use a new private center that he and others were going to approve for construction. According to an article, people had complained about the judge’s often harsh punishment for minor offenses. Ciavarella sent 25% of defendants to juvenile detention in comparison to the state norm of 10%. There were also concerns that the judge denied defendants’ legal counsel when entering a plea. This corruption has created a situation where a large group of juvenile offenders might be in custody unreasonably and their cases might need a second look. As county employees, the judges enjoy immunity from civil prosecution for their work on the bench. It would make it difficult for parents for example, to sue for compensation. It is unclear how much the Judge received from the detention facility.

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