Monday, February 16, 2009

Judges going to jail

The NY Times reports:
the judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care. ...

If the court agrees to the plea agreement, both judges will serve 87 months in federal prison and resign from the bench and bar.
So what should happen to judges who take kids away from parents without clear and convincing evidence? I think that they are all criminals.

If our courts were working properly, it would be impossible for a crooked judge to do so much damage. All of those judge's decisions were supposed to be appealable to a three-judge panel at a higher court. Didn't anyone appeal? Didn't anyone notice a pattern of appellate reversals?

My guess is that it is too difficult and expensive to appeal. And when someone does, the appeals court just rubber-stamps the lower court decision. Yes, the judge was corrupt, but everyone above him should share some responsibility for allowing to issue so many bad decisions over such a long period of time.

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