Jury Begins Deliberations In ‘Cash For Kids’ Case


ASSOCIATED PRESS: A jury began deliberating Wednesday in the public corruption trial of a former Pennsylvania juvenile court judge accused of taking millions of dollars from the builder and owner of youth detention centers, a scandal known as “kids for cash” that resulted in the dismissal of thousands of convictions Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, 61, faces a 39-count federal racketeering indictment that could send him to prison for the rest of his life. A prosecutor said in his closing argument Wednesday that Ciavarella violated the public trust by taking $2.8 million in kickbacks and extortion payments, using youth offenders he sent to the private lockups “as pawns in a scheme to enrich himself.” […] The government has accused Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, of orchestrating a scheme to shut down the county-run detention center and arrange for a private facility to be built and run by cronies. Ciavarella, who presided over juvenile court, then stocked the private jail with young offenders whose crimes were often minor. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed five years’ worth of juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the defendants. Since leaving the bench in disgrace in 2009, Ciavarella has worked a series of odd jobs to support himself and his wife of more than 30 years, painting apartments, delivering flowers and cleaning office buildings. MORE

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