A Harrisburg, PA judge has ordered two former judges to pay $200 million to the families of children sent to prison as part of their kickback scheme, the Associated Press reports.
Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, both former judges in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, were found guilty in 2009 for charges in connection with a scheme that involved them using their positions to shutter county-run juvenile detention center, siphoning children from the juvenile court to PA Child Care and its sister facility, Western PA Child Care, according to court records.
Children as young as 8-years-old, many of whom were first-time offenders charged with petty crimes and misdemeanors were locked up by the judges who would receive payments in exchange for the convictions, court records show.
Almost 300 plaintiffs were awarded $106 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damage, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the conclusion of a civil suit, according to the Associated Press.
Ciaverella is serving 28 years in prison, and although Conahan was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison he was released to home confinement in 2020 for COVID-19 concerns.
More than 4,000 convictions have been overturned since the scheme came to light. ere overturned when the scandal came to light.
“Their cruel and despicable actions victimized a vulnerable population of young people, many of whom were suffering from emotional issues and mental health concerns,” US District Court Judge Christopher Conner wrote, according to the AP.
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