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Luzerne County Scandal

The Legal Intelligencer

Fed. Judge Approves $17.75 Mil. 'Kids-for-Cash' Settlement
The Legal Intelligencer

December 26, 2012


U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo of the Middle District of Pennsylvania has approved the $17.75 million settlement that Robert K. Mericle, the builder of two juvenile detention facilities who allegedly paid millions in "finder's fees" to former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., agreed to last December in a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs. Full Text

High Court Changes Rules to Speed Review of Juvenile Cases
The Legal Intelligencer

December 18, 2012


The state Supreme Court announced changes designed to speed the appellate review of cases where child offenders are placed outside their homes in court delinquency matters. Full Text

3rd Circuit Weighs Judicial Bias Claim In Kids-for-Cash Case
The Legal Intelligencer

November 15, 2012


Former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. is arguing that his convictions related to the bribes he took to place youthful offenders in a privately owned juvenile detention center in the "kids-for-cash" scandal should be set aside because U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, who presided over his trial, had shown bias against him. Full Text

Defendants Can't Revisit Cases of 'Kids-for-Cash' Youths
The Legal Intelligencer

November 7, 2012


The detention facilities that housed juveniles in the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal won't be able to get the teens' criminal records during discovery in a civil action brought by dozens of the teens who were put away, a federal judge has ruled. Full Text

Insurers Need Not Cover Powell in 'Kids-for-Cash' Suits
The Legal Intelligencer

June 25, 2012


The second in a pair of opinions in as many days from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that insurers are not responsible for defending or indemnifying a juvenile-detention center operator who was involved in the "kids-for-cash" scandal in Luzerne County. Full Text

Claims of Malicious Prosecution Over 'Kids-for-Cash' Dashed
The Legal Intelligencer

June 22, 2012


The state Superior Court said in an unpublished decision issued Thursday that a business partner in the juvenile detention facilities at the center of the Luzerne County judicial scandal cannot sustain his malicious prosecution claims against the Juvenile Law Center and the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller. Full Text


 'Kids-for-Cash' Developer Not Covered by Insurance
The Legal Intelligencer
June 22, 2012


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America is not obligated to defend or indemnify Robert Mericle in suits stemming from the "kids-for-cash" scandal in Luzerne County. Mericle's construction company built juvenile facilities that housed youths sent there by two former Luzerne County judges who were getting kickbacks for filling the detention centers. Full Text


After Convictions, Ciavarella and Orie Suspended From Bar
The Legal Intelligencer Blog
May 8, 2012

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued two orders today placing former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and state Senator Jane C. Orie on temporary suspension from the Pennsylvania bar because of their criminal convictions. Full Text

 


High Court Denies Appeal in Luzerne County Prothonotary Case
The Legal Intelligencer
May 3, 2012
The state Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a Luzerne County prothonotary who sued when the county decided to dissolve the elected office and create an appointed system for overseeing judicial records. Full Text

 


Judge Refuses to Open Juvenile Records in 'Kids-for-Cash' Civil Suit
The Legal Intelligencer

April 12, 2012


The original court records for juveniles who were sent to Luzerne County detention facilities in the "kids-for-cash" scandal will stay closed, a federal judge ruled this week. Full Text



Luzerne Co. Public Defender Sues County for Underfunding
The Legal Intelligencer

April 11, 2012


Luzerne County Chief Public Defender Albert J. Flora Jr., along with three indigent adult criminal defendants, has filed a class action suit against the county and County Manager Robert C. Lawton for what they allege is "deliberate indifference to the funding needs" of the Adult Unit of the Luzerne County Public Defender's Office. The suit claims the office's ability to represent adult defendants has suffered while its juvenile representation has seen marked improvement because of grant funding following the county's "kids-for-cash" scandal. Full Text

 


 

Judge Allows Additional Defendants in 'Kids-for-Cash' Civil Suit

The Legal Intelligencer
March  22, 2012

A federal judge hearing arguments in the wake of the kids-for-cash scandal has allowed 45 new plaintiffs to enter the suit. Full Text

 


 

Letter: Assertion Regarding Lokuta Is Wrong
The Legal Intelligencer

March  21, 2012

 


The article appearing in The Legal Intelligencer on March 6 ("When Are Men Going to Put an End to the Boys' Club?" by Editor-in-Chief Hank Grezlak) contains the following assertion:...Full Text



 

Fed. Judge Approves $17.75 Mil. Settlement Of 'Kids-for-Cash' Suit
The Legal Intelligencer

March  6, 2012

A federal judge has preliminarily approved the $17.75 million settlement Robert K. Mericle, the builder of two juvenile detention facilities who allegedly paid millions in "finder's fees" to former Luzerne County Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., agreed to in December in a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs. Full Text



When Are Men Going to Put an End to the Boys' Club?
The Legal Intelligencer
March 6, 2012


If you ask me Sandra Fluke, the 30-year-old Georgetown law school student who argued in favor of health care plans covering contraceptives before Congress, has more balls than Rush Limbaugh, the rotund radio host who smeared her. Full Text



 

RICO Claim Survives Early Motion in 'Kids-for-Cash' Suit
The Legal Intelligencer
February 28, 2012


A federal judge has allowed the mother of a juvenile who was incarcerated during the Luzerne County judicial scandal to move forward with a RICO claim against the facility where her son was imprisoned. Full Text




Ciavarella Has Judicial Immunity From Some Civil Claims
The Legal Intelligencer
February 6, 2012

Echoing his earlier ruling in the civil class action brought by juveniles against former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., a federal judge has ruled in a separate suit that Ciavarella is shielded by judicial immunity from some, but not all, of the allegations.  Full Text

 

 


 
Special Master Finished as Luzerne Co. Court Retakes Control of Juvenile Cases
The Legal Intelligencer
January 6, 2012

Following a state Supreme Court order Thursday, the Luzerne County Common Pleas Court has regained complete control over adjudicating and disposing of the county's juvenile cases. Full Text



Mericle Settles 'Kids-for-Cash' Civil Lawsuits
The Legal Intelligencer
December 27, 2011


Robert K. Mericle, the builder of two juvenile detention facilities who allegedly paid millions in "finder's fees" to Ciavarella and former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Conahan, has agreed to settle his portion of a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs for $17.75 million, with the possibility of an additional $1.75 million. Full Text




Bulk of Mericle Settlement Reserved For Juveniles Who Were Harmed
The Legal Intelligencer
December 20, 2011


The largest single portion of the $17.75 million settlement developer Robert K. Mericle agreed to on Dec. 16 will be reserved for juvenile victims who suffered physical or psychological harm as the result of being sent to detention centers by former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. Full Text



Mericle Settles 'Kids-for-Cash' Suit for $17.75 Mil.
The Legal Intelligencer

December 19, 2011


Robert K. Mericle, the builder of two juvenile detention facilities who allegedly paid millions in "finder's fees" to former Luzerne County Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., has agreed to settle his portion of a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs for $17.75 million. Full Text



Judge Sides With Luzerne County Newspaper in Defamation Suit
The Legal Intelligencer
December 14, 2011

After a decade of litigation and a second trial in the case, a Luzerne County judge has ruled that The Scranton Times, which owns and publishes the Citizens' Voice newspaper, did not defame Luzerne County businessman Thomas A. Joseph Sr.
 


Luzerne Co. Officially Out as 'Kids-for-Cash' Civil Defendant
The Legal Intelligencer
December 2, 2011

A federal judge has dismissed Luzerne County, the county department of juvenile probation and three former county officials from a civil suit filed by a class of plaintiffs alleging their rights were violated in the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" judicial scandal. Full Text



From the Chief: It's Open Season on Children in Pennsylvania
The Legal Intelligencer
November 11, 2011
In light of the Penn State sex abuse scandal, Pennsylvania really needs to change its nickname from the Keystone State to the Child Abuser State. Full Text
 
Judicial Discipline Seen as Consistent in Pennsylvania
The Legal Intelligencer
November 8, 2011
 
Since 2001, of the 29 state judges charged by the Judicial Conduct Board to receive sanctions from the Court of Judicial Discipline, 13 judges have been removed from office. The charges brought against those judges ranged from illegal gambling operations, to extortion, to sexual assault. Full Text
 

Lawyer in Luzerne County Scandal Gets 18 Months
The Legal Intelligencer
November 7, 2011

A federal judge on Nov. 4 sentenced the former co-owner of two juvenile detention facilities to 18 months in prison for his role in the Luzerne County judicial scandal. Full Text


Zappala's Malicious Prosecution Claims Over Luzerne Co. Lawsuits Dismissed
The Legal Intelligencer
October 13, 2011

A Philadelphia judge has dismissed the five malicious prosecution lawsuits that a person tied to the juvenile detention facilities at the center of the Luzerne County judicial scandal brought against at least nine law firms representing the youths sentenced to serve time at the facility. Full Text


Legal Observers Say Conahan's Sentence Fair, Starting Point for Healing
The Legal Intelligencer
October 4, 2011

In the week following the 17.5-year federal prison sentence handed down to former Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Conahan, several judicial watchers told the Law Weekly they were far from surprised by the high number, which fell just two-and-a-half years shy of the maximum sentence the disgraced judge faced. Full Text


U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Lokuta's Case
The Legal Intelligencer
October 3, 2011

Former Luzerne County Judge Ann H. Lokuta will not be able to plead her case before the U.S. Supreme Court now that the high court has refused to hear her appeal, seemingly ending a drawn-out saga involving allegations of prejudice, selective prosecution and judicial conflicts of interest. Full Text


Conahan Sentenced to 17.5 Years
The Legal Intelligencer
Sept. 23, 2011

Before a packed courtroom, former Luzerne County President Judge Michael T. Conahan was sentenced to 210 months -- 17.5 years -- in federal prison for his role in the Luzerne County judicial scandal. Full Text
 

Ciavarella's Lengthy Sentence May Set Bar for Conahan
The Legal Intelligencer
August 30, 2011

Now that former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella is serving a nearly three-decade term in federal prison for his part in the county's judicial scandal, all eyes have turned to his alleged co-conspirator and fellow former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Conahan, whose sentencing hearing is set for Sept. 23. Full Text.
 
Conahan's Sentencing Set for Sept. 23
The Legal Intelligencer
August 24, 2011

Former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael T. Conahan's sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23, in Scranton. Full Text
 

Ciavarella Tells Court He's Broke
The Legal Intelligencer
August 24, 2011
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella has filed an application asking the court to declare him indigent. Full Text
 


Ciavarella Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison
The Legal Intelligencer
August 11, 2011

Before a packed courtroom that spilled into a second room where a crowd watched on monitors, former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 336 months -- 28 years -- in federal prison.avarella has filed an application asking the court to declare him indigent. Full Text

 
Justices OK Payments to Luzerne County Juvenile Crime Victims
The Legal Intelligencer
August 11, 2011

The state Supreme Court has approved about $65,000 in restitution for the victims of juvenile offenders whose convictions were tossed out following the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal. But juvenile rights advocates say the focus should be on compensating the juveniles themselves. Full Text
 


Supreme Court Posts Amounts Paid to Luzerne County Victims
The Legal Intelligencer
July 28, 2011

The state Supreme Court posted three special master determinations that collectively listed the names of over 100 victims of juveniles whose convictions were tossed out following the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal and the amounts each will be compensated. Full Text
 


 
From the Chief: ABA Report No Reason for High Fives for Judicial Conduct System
The Legal Intelligencer
July 12, 2011

An American Bar Association report on Pennsylvania's judicial conduct system provided a number of helpful recommendations on ways to improve the system and did so without being overly critical, particularly of the Judicial Conduct Board.
 

ABA Report Reveals Inner Workings of State's JCB
The Legal Intelligencer
July 5, 2011

In addition to the 14 recommendations an American Bar Association committee issued regarding the state's judicial conduct system, the 56-page report also unveiled aspects of the inner workings of the Judicial Conduct Board, which came under fire after the Luzerne County judicial scandal. Full Text
 

Dissolution of Luzerne Prothonotary's Office Upheld
The Legal Intelligencer
June 28, 2011

The Commonwealth Court has upheld the dissolution of Luzerne County's elected prothonotary's office and the creation in its place of a Division of Judicial Services and Records appointed by the County Council. Full Text


 

 
Ciavarella and Conahan May Face Very Different Sentences
The Legal Intelligencer
June 7, 2011

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. has joined his co-defendant, former Judge Michael T. Conahan, in awaiting sentencing after a federal judge denied his post-trial motions late last month.
 


Ciavarella's Post-Trial Motions Denied
The Legal Intelligencer
May 27, 2011

U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Edwin M. Kosik has denied former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr.'s post-trial motions to be granted a new trial or to have his racketeering and honest services fraud convictions overturned. Full Text

 
'Kids-for-Cash' Plaintiffs Lose Bid to Add County to Suit
The Legal Intelligencer
May 3, 2011

The federal judge who is presiding over the civil rights suits filed in the wake of the "kids-for-cash" scandal in Luzerne County has rejected the plaintiffs' bid to add allegations that a former county commissioner participated in the conspiracy to incarcerate juveniles in return for bribes. Full Text
 

Letters of Support Played Role in Toole's Sentencing
The Legal Intelligencer
April 11, 2011

The real Michael T. Toole, who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Friday, was not simply the former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court judge who agreed to plead guilty for selling his judicial seat for the use of a beach house in New Jersey, they said. He was not just the man who failed to report an attorney's referral fee on his taxes. Full Text


No Coverage Duty in 'Kids-for-Cash' Cases, Judge Suggests
The Legal Intelligencer
April 7, 2011

The federal judge who is overseeing the civil rights suits filed in the wake of the "kids-for-cash" judicial corruption scandal in Luzerne County has handed down a pair of opinions in favor of insurers who are refusing to provide any coverage for the cases. Full Text


Ciavarella Hangs Acquittal Arguments on Evidentiary Issues
The Legal Intelligencer
April 6, 2011

Arguing that evidence submitted by the federal government was both time-barred and insufficient, former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. has petitioned a federal court judge to overturn his racketeering and honest services fraud convictions. Full Text



If Pa. Supreme Court Won't Reform JCB, Then Someone Else Should

The Legal Intelligencer
March 29, 2011

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its progress report on its response to reform proposals made by the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice in the wake of the Luzerne County Courthouse scandal, it was pretty thin when it came to judicial ethics and the judicial conduct system. Full Text


Ciavarella Begins Appeals Process With Brace of Motions
The Legal Intelligencer
March 7, 2011

Convicted last month of racketeering and honest services fraud, Former Luzerne County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella has filed a series of motions to have the most serious charges against him tossed. Full Text


High Court 'in Process' of Changing Juvenile Justice System
The Legal Intelligencer
March 2, 2011

Nine months after a commission offered its recommendations on how to improve the state's juvenile justice system, Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille provided for the first time yesterday a road map for the court's implementation of some of those changes. Full Text


JCB's Proposed Rule Change Applauded for 'Transparency'
The Legal Intelligencer
February 22, 2011

The state's Judicial Conduct Board has proposed a rule change to strip its chief counsel of the ability to determine whether anonymous complaints warrant full investigations without consulting the board's members. Full Text

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