Ex-Judge heading to prison for sending juveniles to private detention facilities in exchange for money

August 12, 2011
23 Views

A former Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison following a scandal in which he took nearly $1 million from the builder of juvenile detention facilities.  In exchange for money, former judge Mark Ciavarella sentenced thousands of juveniles to the detention centers often for lengthy stays after relatively minor violations.  His efforts kept a steady flow of children into the facilities owned by Mr. Robert Powell.  Mr. Powell has been convicted of tax fraud and is awaiting sentencing.  Another judge, Michael Conahan, also pleaded guilty to participating in this scheme.  All children sentenced by former judge Ciavarella in last five years will be reversed and their records will be wiped clean.  “Mr. Ciavarella abused his position of trust and inflicted a deep and lasting wound on the community he vowed to service,” said U.S. Attorney Peter Smith.  After his conviction in February, he was approached by Sandy Fonzo who screamed that Mr. Ciavarella’s overly harsh sentencing of her 17 year-old son after a single violation led him from a college scholarship to several years of crime, depression, and eventual suicide.

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