FINALLY! TWO Judges Sentenced To 28 Years For Selling ‘Kids For Cash’ To Prisons

kids-for-cash-judge (1)



You Never hear of these stories: the corruption at the top being brought out into the LIGHT.(despite the OVER coverage of this claimed by defense attorneys)

The fact that someone would even PROPOSE this to a sitting judge speaks volumes to the notion that this is NOT an isolated incident–more on that below:

Take encouragement–perhaps there WILL be a return to the Rule of Law—-soon.

Judge Sentenced To 28 Years For Selling ‘Kids For Cash’ To Prisons

The Associated Press says the following:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008,saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.

Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. His attorneys had asked for a “reasonable” sentence in court papers, saying, in effect, that he’s already been punished enough.

“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,” their sentencing memo said.

The Times Leader reports that the court house in Scranton was overflowing as over a dozen people who had been essentially “sold” to prisons by the judge turned out to exchange horror stories.

“Mark Arthur Ciavarella, Jr. (born March 3, 1950) is a convicted felon (Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate number 15008-067) and former President Judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania who was involved, along with fellow judge Michael Conahan, in the “Kids for cash” scandal in 2008.[4]

In August 2011, Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for his involvement in the Kids for Cash scandal.[5]”


Michael T. Conahan (born April 21, 1952) is a convicted felon and former judge from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania who was involved in the “Kids for cash” scandal in 2008[1] with fellow judge Mark Ciavarella. [2]

As president judge, Conahan used his budgetary discretion to stop funding the county public youth detention facility[4] and agreed to send teens instead to a new private facility. He is accused of agreeing to generate at least $1.3 million per year in costs that could be billed to taxpayers in exchange for kickbacks.


There is more: RICO charges coming……………


Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were accused of accepting money from Robert Mericle, builder of two private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh adjudications on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the number of residents in the centers.[1][2]

For example, Ciavarella adjudicated children to extended stays in youth centers for offenses as minimal as mocking a principal on Myspace, trespassing in a vacant building, or shoplifting DVDs from Wal-mart.[3] Ciavarella and Conahan pled guilty on February 13, 2009, pursuant to a plea agreement, to federal charges of honest services fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States (failing to report income to the Internal Revenue Service, known as tax evasion) in connection with receiving $2.6 million in payments from managers at PA Child Care in Pittston Township and its sister company Western PA Child Care in Butler County.[4][5] The plea agreement was later voided by a federal judge, who was dissatisfied with the post-plea conduct of the defendants, and the two judges charged subsequently withdrew their guilty pleas, raising the possibility of a criminal trial.[6]

Now let’s read about the TWO CORPORATIONS involved with this that are…wait for it…………………


Juvenile courts can make referrals to Mid-Atlantic Youth Services. If an adolescent in your care is in need of help, please contact Corey Shumaker at 814-221-5684 or via email at [email protected].

ALL they did was change their incorporated name, and then get a slap on the wrist–no one yet except the above have been held to account:

PA Child Care
PA Child Care (formerly Luzerne County Juvenile Center)
offers secure programs for males and females. This state-of-the-art facility is located in Pittston Township, Luzerne County and is easily accessible from Route 81.

And the second one…

Western PA Child Care,[3] in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Treatment at both facilities is provided by Mid Atlantic Youth Services.[1] Gregory Zappala took sole ownership of the company when he purchased co-owner Robert Powell’s share in June 2008.[4]



WHO owns these facilities and WHY ARE THEY STILL OPERATING???????????????

Detention scheme was lucrative, harmful

Federal investigators said they sentenced children to juvenile detention centers in which they had financial interests, and at times did so against probation officers’ recommendations and without the children having legal representation.

Dan Fee, a spokesman for Greg Zappala, said Mr. Zappala had no knowledge of the payments to the judges. Mr. Zappala has not been accused of any wrongdoing and is not a target of the investigation, according to a source close to the federal probe.

Attorneys for Mr. Zappala’s former partner in the centers, Hazleton attorney Robert Powell, have said Mr. Powell made payments to the Luzerne judges. But they also called Mr. Powell a victim of extortion, and said he ultimately reported the shakedown to authorities.

Also, the federal complaint against the judges describes an unnamed contractor who built the centers as a second provider of alleged kickbacks. Other court records, including documents in two civil lawsuits filed Friday by families of some of the juveniles sentenced in Luzerne County, identify that contractor as Robert Mericle of Mericle Construction in Wilkes-Barre.

Western Pennsylvania Child Care and Pennsylvania Child Care in Pittston, Luzerne County, are owned by Greg Zappala, brother of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. and son of former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen A. Zappala Sr.



Why is this important NOW?

It happened in 07 right?

Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of racketeering and other charges, and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Conahan, a friend of Powell’s who oversaw the scam, pleaded guilty to racketeering and was sentenced to more than 17 years behind bars. A fourth conspirator, developer Robert Mericle, pleaded guilty for his part in the plot and was sentenced to a year in prison.

The victims and their families have also won millions in judgments from Mericle and Powell’s companies.

All that’s left to adjudicate now are two additional class-action claims against Ciavarella and Conahan, said Marsha Levick, deputy director of Juvenile Law Center, the Philadelphia non-profit that sparked the case when it began investigating questionable juvenile lockups in Luzerne County in 2007.

Pennsylvania Seeks to Close Books on “Kids for Cash” Scandal–Aug 12 2015,

Levick said that there a measure of satisfaction among most of the2,500 victims and their families

From the link:

“One of the biggest corruption scandals to hit America’s juvenile justice system began unfolding in 2007, when parents in a central Pennsylvania county began to complain that their children had been tossed into for-profit youth centers without a lawyer to represent them.

Over the past eight years, the kickback scheme, known as “kids for cash,” has resulted in prison terms for two Luzerne County judges and two businessmen — and convictions of thousands of juveniles have been tossed out.

Now the case is entering its final chapter: a few remaining class action lawsuits in which victims are seeking millions of dollars in compensation.

One of those claims drew to a close Monday, when a federal judge signed off on a settlement in which one of the businessmen, Robert Powell, would pay $4.75 million. The actual payouts will begin in December, after the plaintiffs choose whether to accept the settlement.

Powell, who co-owned two private juvenile justice facilities, served an 18-month prison term after admitting to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to former Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. and his boss, Judge Michael Conahan. In return, Ciavarella routinely found children guilty and sent them to Powell’s facilities. ”



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