Ex Judge Mark A. Ciarella, Jr., guilty of Racketeering

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Normal Ex Judge Mark A. Ciarella, Jr., guilty of Racketeering

Post by CritterFan1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:51 pm

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Ex Judge Convicted of Racketeering; Taking Bribes from For-Profit Juvenile Detention Centers
February 19th, 2011

Via: AP:

A former juvenile court judge was convicted Friday of racketeering in a case that accused him of sending youth offenders to for-profit detention centers in exchange for millions of dollars in illicit payments from the builder and owner of the lockups.

Luzerne County ex-Judge Mark Ciavarella, 61, left the bench in disgrace two years ago after prosecutors charged him with engineering one of the biggest courtroom frauds in U.S. history by using juvenile delinquents as pawns in a plot to get rich.

Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities’ co-owner. Ciavarella insisted the payments were legal and denied that he incarcerated youths for money.
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Post by raine1953 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:41 pm

This man needs to get some serious prison time for what he did. I remember reading about this and wonder how many children's lives did he ruin because of his love for money.
Thanks for posting this Critter, I hope the second judge is found guilty as well.
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Post by raine1953 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:47 pm

Ciavarella’s demeanor stirs anger

Former Judge Mark Ciavarella’s reaction to the verdict in his corruption trial has only further served to inflame the pain of juveniles and their families who allege the juveniles were wrongly incarcerated by him, attorneys who represent some of the youths said.

Meeting with the press shortly after the verdict was read, Ciavarella and his attorney, Al Flora, declared the verdict was a partial victory because it supported the position that he never jailed juveniles for cash.

“I never took a dime to send a kid anywhere. If that was the case, that would have been in this trial,” a defiant Ciavarella said, referring to the government’s decision not to raise that aspect of the case at trial.

Attorneys Barry Dyller and Marsha Levick, who represent juveniles in two of several class action civil suits, said Ciavarella’s comments, as well as his reaction to a distraught mother who confronted him outside the courthouse, have only served to further anger their clients and inflame the public.

A video of the confrontation with Sandy Fonzo of Wilkes-Barre shows Ciavarella initially with his back to her as she screams in anguish about her 23-year-old son, Edward Kenzakoski, who committed suicide in June. Ciavarella had incarcerated him when he was 17 for a minor infraction. He was never the same after he was released, Fonzo said.

Ciavarella turned toward her after she pushed forward and attempted to jab him in the back. He then turned and walked away, traversing down several steps before stopping to answer questions from the media as Fonzo continued to scream from across the street.

“He’s walking away and continuing to express joy at his ‘vindication’ in the face of this extraordinary pain this woman experienced in her life,” Levick said. “The image of lack of concern and compassion for these kids (who appeared before him) was the same image we took away from that encounter.”

Flora said Ciavarella’s response was motivated by concern for his safety. Fonzo was so distraught and out of control, no one knew what was going to happen. He stepped forward to get away from the situation.

“We were all caught off guard,” he said.

Dyller said he was not surprised Ciavarella continues to maintain his innocence regarding the “kids for cash” angle of the case. He was surprised he spoke about that, given that he has not yet been sentenced.

It’s a decision Dyller said he believes will likely come back to haunt Ciavarella, just as it did in July 2009, when U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik rejected a guilty plea deal that called for him to plead guilty to honest services wire fraud and tax charges.

Under the deal Ciavarella would have been sentenced to 87 months in prison. Kosik rejected the agreement based on several interviews Ciavarella gave in which he denied he incarcerated juveniles for profit. Kosik said he believed that showed Ciavarella had not accepted responsibility for his actions.

“That demeanor of arrogance kept that plea from working out,” Dyller said. “We saw that again (Friday). You saw how Kosik reacted to it the last time. It was poor judgment from a person who used to judge others and I suspect he’ll pay the price for it.”

Flora said he understands passions are continuing to run high regarding the case. He noted some people have expressed anger over a comment Ciavarella’s wife, Cindy, made in which she said the case had been “nightmare” for her family. He said the comment was misunderstood.

“She was not saying that to slight anyone,” Flora said. “People don’t know what it’s like to sit there in the defendant’s chair. To people from the outside, he looks carefree. But you don’t know how a person reacts to a very stressful situation. What may appear on the surface is a lot different than what’s underneath.”

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Post by raine1953 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:54 pm

At the link below is a video of the confrontation with Sandy Fonzo of Wilkes-Barre and Ciavarella and his attorney.
What an arrogant creep. jmoo.

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Post by CritterFan1 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:44 pm

what a jerk. the way he treated wayward kids, when it is all over someday, I hope he rots in hell.
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