Mark Ciavarella Jr. a longtime Democratic judge from Scranton, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 28 years in jail for participating in a major juvenile justice bribery crime known as the “kids-for-cash” case.
Michael Conahan, Ciavarella’s partner in crime, was also accused of participating in the bribery incident.
The judge received more than $2 million in payoff money from a contractor who was constructing two juvenile detention centers and for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the detention center’s co-owner.
The Supreme Court in the state went on to toss out 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella from 2003 to 2008.
The 61-year-old judge of Pennsylvania was charged with racketeering at the beginning of this fiscal year. Ciavarella’s lawyer has entreated for a more “reasonable” sentence as the judge has already been through a lot.
“THE MEDIA ATTENTION TO THIS MATTER HAS EXCEEDED COVERAGE GIVEN TO MANY AND ALMOST ALL CAPITAL MURDERS, AND DESPITE PROTESTATION, HE WILL FOREVER BE UNJUSTLY BRANDED AS THE ‘KIDS FOR CASH’ JUDGE,” READ THEIR SENTENCING MESSAGE.
Ciavarella denied any allegations following his apprehension, claiming that all payments he received were legal, denying that he locked up young children in exchange for money.
During a trial of the case in February, the jury came to a mixed decision, charging Ciavarella on twelve accounts, and exonerating him of 27 counts, extortion included.
The verdicts that found him guilty are linked to a payment of $997,600 from the constructor of the facility.
In the meantime, Conahan, the second judge included in the case, pleaded guilty last year and his sentence is pending.
The 4,000 cases that were dismissed by the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania speak volumes about the gravity of this crime.
Well, Ciavarella has the next 28 years to think about what he had done. Hopefully, it would be enough.