Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bringing justice to them all

A Penn. newspaper reports this follow-up on a story that got a lot of publicity a few months ago:
Thousands of cases are overturned, thanks to a family that refused to give up.

WHITE HAVEN – Laurene Transue thought the teenagers were kidding.

Her 15-year-old daughter, Hillary, had been charged with harassment for creating a fake MySpace page that mocked an assistant principal at her school. ...

On April 17, 2007 Hillary appeared before Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella. Following a hearing that lasted less than three minutes, she was shackled and led out of the courtroom to await transport to Camp Adams, a residential juvenile treatment facility near Jim Thorpe. ...

That “something” was a court challenge that on Thursday led the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the convictions of an estimated 6,500 juveniles who appeared before Ciavarella from 2003 to 2008.

The court based its ruling on allegations that Ciavarella and former judge Michael Conahan accepted millions of dollars from the owner and builder of two juvenile centers the county utilized. The court also found Ciavarella had repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of juveniles.

The decision means all convictions within that time frame will be vacated and the records of the juveniles expunged, or erased. Prosecutors also were barred from retrying any juveniles other than those that remain incarcerated or owe restitution or fines. ...

The hearing lasted only a few minutes. Ciavarella never asked Hillary if she wanted an attorney or explained the ramifications and possible penalties she faced by admitting to the offense.

“They handcuffed her before she was out of the courtroom. I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” Laurene Transue said. “I was hysterical. They had to carry me out of the courtroom. I couldn’t fathom that a 15-year-old was going to jail.”

Hillary was immediately transported to Camp Adams. She was given a single, two-minute phone call that night. ...

The Supreme Court initially declined to hear the case. It reconsidered after federal authorities filed corruption charges in January against Ciavarella and Conahan. The men initially pleaded guilty, but later withdrew their pleas and are awaiting trial.
The judges withdrew their guilty pleas?! They might skate after all this?

These judges got famous as the worst judges in the USA, but I don't think that Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph is any better. He is the Santa Cruz juvenile delinquency court judge.

The kid in the story got a three-minute hearing. My kids did not even get that before Cmr. Joseph. They were forcibly taken out of their homes by cops on orders from Cmr. Joseph. There was no contested hearing. There was no allegation that any crime had been committed. There was no allegation that anyone had been harmed or that any harm was likely.

Like those Penn. judges, Cmr. Joseph earns his fat paycheck by falsely punishing people. Not only did he personally profit from his action against me and my kids, he did it maliciously and vindictively.

Cmr. Joseph said that we could have a trial, but not until a court-appointed psychologist does an evaluation. Then he refused to appoint a psychologist.

He said that I could use the CPS report for my appeal, and then held me in contempt of court for using the CPS report for my appeal.

If there were any justice, Cmr. Joseph would be in prison along with those Penn. judges.

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