Court orders 2 judges who took millions in kickbacks to pay out big

A court has ordered two disgraced judges – convicted and jailed for taking kickbacks for sending kids to a certain private jail – to pay some $200 million to their victims.

CBS said the order for compensation comes from U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner and went against Mark Ciavarella and Mark Conahan.

In what became known as a “kids-for-cash” scandal, they “shut down a county-run juvenile detention center and accepted $2.8 million in illegal payments from the building and co-owner of two for-profit lockups,” the network reported.

In a civil action, Conner awarded $106 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages to nearly 300 plaintiffs from the ex-judges.

Ciavarella presided over juvenile court, so had access to many possible victims. He guaranteed that large numbers of offenders would be sent to PA Child Care and its related operation, Western PA Child Care.

He even ordered kids as young as 8 years old into detention.

“Ciavarella and Conahan abandoned their oath and breached the public trust,” Conner said in his order. “Their cruel and despicable actions victimized a vulnerable population of young people, many of whom were suffering from emotional issues and mental health concerns.”

The two defendants also were cited by the judge for their “breathtaking arrogance and an unfathomable disregard of due process.”

The report cited some of the oddly extreme sentences handed down by Ciavarella.

He once sentenced a juvenile to 11 months in jail for driving the wrong way down a one-way street – because that’s how many buttons were on her shirt.

“Another juvenile who went in for a release hearing was instead sentenced to an additional eight months because the teen picked the wrong sports team,” the report said.

The state Supreme Court tried to deal with the issue by throwing out 4,000 juvenile convictions.

According to a report in the Jurist, Conner found, “The law is powerless to restore to plaintiffs the weeks, months, and years lost because of the actions of the defendants. But we hope that by listening to their experiences and acknowledging the depth of the damage done to their lives, we can provide them with a measure of closure and, with this memorandum opinion, ensure that their stories are never forgotten.”

A commentary at NottheBee noted, “The breathtaking awfulness of their crimes can hardly be overstated.”

It continued, “That kind of depraved evil is hard to quantify. But $200 million is a decent place to start.”

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