The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today’s winners are former judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan. They get the award for the following

Two judges pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting more than $2.6 million from a private youth detention centre in Pennsylvania in return for giving hundreds of youths and teenagers long sentences.

Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, entered plea agreements in federal court in Scranton admitting that they took payoffs from PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare, between 2003 and 2006.

“Your statement that I have disgraced my judgeship is true,” Ciavarella wrote in a letter to the court. “My actions have destroyed everything I worked to accomplish and I have only myself to blame.”

Conahan, who along with Ciavarella faces up to seven years in prison, did not make any comment on the case.

When someone is sent to a detention centre, the company running the facility receives money from the county government to defray the cost of incarceration. So as more children were sentenced to the detention centre, PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare received more money from the government, prosecutors said.

Teenagers who came before Ciavarella in juvenile court often were sentenced to detention centres for minor offences that would typically have been classified as misdemeanours, according to the Juvenile Law Centre, a Philadelphia nonprofit group.

One 17-year-old boy was sentenced to three months’ detention for being in the company of another minor caught shoplifting.

Others were given similar sentences for “simple assault” resulting from a schoolyard scuffle that would normally draw a warning, a spokeswoman for the Juvenile Law Centre said.

These two men took over two million dollars in return for the sentences they gave out. They will only go to jail for seven years. Send them to prison two days for every one day they sentenced juveniles to jail improperly. Otherwise justice isn’t served, because these two took away the rights of people for monetary gain and its just sickening they’ll be out of jail in a few years.

I honestly think this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so legal lunacy going on in Broward County Florida, that you can’t help think some of these people are on the take. No local prosecutor will take them on, for they will soon become the target. Those in charge of administering the law shouldn’t be given a free pass, but held to a higher standard. In the meantime, I name former judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan today’s Knuckleheads of the Day.

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