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Former Pa. Judge Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison in Kids-for-Cash Scandal

Posted Aug 11, 2011 10:02 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former Pennsylvania judge accused of taking $1 million in bribes for sending juveniles to private detention centers has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced today, according to the Associated Press and the Times-Tribune. Before the sentence was imposed, he told U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik that he knew his actions could be unethical, but he didn’t think they were illegal.

One parent shouted “woo-hoo” after the sentence and applause erupted in the hallway outside, the Times-Tribune says.

Ciaverella was convicted in February on 12 of 39 counts, including racketeering, mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy and filing false tax returns. He later claimed victory because he wasn't convicted of bribery.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has vacated about 4,000 convictions on the ground that Ciaverella violated juveniles’ constitutional rights, AP says.

A co-defendant who pleaded guilty last year, former Judge Michael Conahan, has not yet been sentenced.

Related coverage:

Times-Leader: "Outside courthouse, victims share stories"

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