A Stunning Case Of Judicial Corruption in Pennsylvania


I started to read an article that paralleled my find from yesterday about some high achieving  students in China, who found that their academic files were stolen and thus lost their hopes of being rewarded with good higher educations and  jobs. The files were stolen by the school officials and sold to lower achieving students.

From the NY Times: Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future

Well, good old America was ahead of them all the time.  Two judges in Pennsylvania have committed thousands of the worst acts of judicial betrayal, greed, and corruption that I’ve ever heard of. And a host of juvenile lives will never be the same as a result.

This story also highlights why I have fought against privatizing anything that involves the government’s use of it’s coercive and detention authority!  During my last course in grad school before I dropped, I did a paper on the insane troubles at a private prison in  (whoops!) Pennsylvania! That case caused me to argue against private prisons everywhere!

And Pennslyvania leads the United States in insane growth of private prisons.

Most of the juveniles victimized by the latest corruption scandal did the minor, stupid things that I’ve read people bragging and reminiscing about here at WordPress.

While the rest of Pennslyvania was trending away from incarceration for minor misdeeds, the principals in this scandal were sending everything but the kitchen sink into lockup!

The kids involved will be candidates for sainthood, if they are ever able to see our justice system as anything but a corrupted mess.


It started when a “businessman”, Robert Mericle, approached his friend,  Judge Ciavarella and, later, Judge Conahan, to pitch an idea about a “private detention facility”.

$2.6 million in kickbacks, and thousands of juveniles cases later, the two judges are going off to seven years in jail.

Judge Ciavarella eventually started sentencing juveniles to detention at twice the state average, which was his part of the deal. To disguise the money the Ciavarella and Conahan used purchase schemes, one involving a joint purchase of a $785,000 condominium in Florida, where the judges disguised financial transactions as rent and other related fees.

As to the witnesses, court employees, and others who knew that something was wrong: The judges used every bit of their authority to intimidate, coerce, and threaten anyone who spoke up.1

INSULT TO INJURY:  Why not do something that also takes away the victim’s right or ability to sue for damages in this case of judicial corruption and intrigue!

Here’s the problem: On Thursday, after months of wrangling, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has decided to destroy many of the juvenile’s records in the corrupted cases!

This is the same state Supreme court that couldn’t find anything wrong with anyone or anything at any time for years, as this stupid, obvious scheme played out in dubious case after dubious case.

That’s right. Destroyed. In some cases, against the wishes and protests of the attorneys for the juveniles (and even the juveniles, themselves), and despite the knowledge that destroying those records would ruin the juvenile’s chances of suing for damages in their kangaroo court cases.

“Lawyers for the youths, however, said that the amended order would not safeguard the records of about 6,100 remaining youths, who either had not been told of their rights stemming from the judicial corruption case or had yet to request their records.”2


(I see Robert DiNiro, Sean Penn, any number of young Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic actors, plenty of bimbo action,  and rave reviews for the film about this mess.

From the NY Times: Files Vanished, Young Americans Lose the Future

The Westlaw Litigator “Former PA Judges Created Culture of Fear, Corruption”

The kickback scheme was obvious.

Robert Powell, the man behind the “Private Detention Facility”.


1.   NY Times: “Despite Red Flags about Judges, A kickback Scheme Flourished”.


2.  From the NY Times: Files Vanished, Young Americans Lose the Future