Remember the judge in Luzerne County who owned the detention facility to which he’d sentence juveniles? The report is out, and it’s heartbreaking:
The report described as “Dickensian” the role of former judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who ordered children as young as 11 to jail for failure to pay fines, “effectively using the county detention center as a debtor’s prison for children.”
More than half the juveniles who appeared in Ciavarella’s courtroom between 2003 and 2008 did so without counsel, the report said. Witnesses told the commission that Ciavarella had pressured defendants into waiving their right to counsel and even had a table set up outside his courtroom with waiver forms to sign.
The report concluded that many defense attorneys who had appeared before Ciavarella “clearly abdicated their responsibilities” to defend their clients and “protect their due process rights.”
Ah, but they protected their own careers, and that’s the important thing!