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National Briefing / Pennsylvania

Juvenile convictions tossed in kickback case

March 27, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The state Supreme Court overturned hundreds of juvenile convictions issued by a corrupt judge who took millions of dollars in kickbacks from youth detention centers. The court ruled that former Luzerne County President Judge Mark Ciavarella violated the constitutional rights of youthful offenders who appeared in his courtroom without lawyers between 2003 and 2008.

Federal prosecutors charged Ciavarella and another Luzerne County judge, Michael Conahan, with taking $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in privately owned lockups.

The judges pleaded guilty to fraud last month and face sentences of more than seven years in prison.

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