Trials & Litigation

Reports: Convicted Judge Proclaims Victory, Turns His Back on Mom Blaming Him for Her Son's Suicide

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Convicted on only 12 of the 39 federal criminal counts he faced, a former Pennsylvania judge and his lawyers stepped outside a Scranton courthouse on Friday and proclaimed victory in the “kids for cash” case because he hadn’t been convicted of bribery.

“He never took a kickback,” attorney Al Flora told the crowd.

At that point, a woman who says she is the mother of one of the teenagers Mark Ciavarella Jr. is alleged to have sentenced to juvenile detention on flimsy grounds, lost it, the Associated Press reports.

“My kid’s not here anymore! He’s dead! Because of him!” screamed Sandy Fonzo.

She blames Ciavarella for her son’s suicide at 23, years after Ciavarella put him in detention during what would have been the all-star wrestler’s senior year in high school. At the time of the sentencing, Ciavarella was the president judge of Luzerne County.

In response to the woman’s rant, the news agency says, Ciavarella turned his back and said he didn’t know who Fonzo is.

The New York Daily News has a link to the video of her outburst, which has gone viral.

Fonzo reportedly is one of the plaintiffs in a civil suit against Ciavarella and another former president judge of Luzerne County who is also accused of taking bribes in exchange for jailing juveniles.

Earlier coverage:

ABA Journal: “Town Without Pity” “Ex-President Judge of Luzerne County Found Guilty on 12 of 39 Counts in Kids-for-Cash Case”

Times-Tribune: “Prosecutor strove to set tone for testimony”

WNEP: “Another Juror in Ciavarella Trial Speaks Out”

Times-Tribune: “Efforts underway to repair Luzerne County juvenile court system”

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