Pa. Judge Whose Fate Is In Hands of Jury Not Tagged As Dem -- For Two Years

The fate of former Luzerne County, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella is in the hands of a jury tonight.

After an initial media slip-up that occurred and was quickly "corrected" when he and a fellow judge were indicted two years ago ("Un-Name That Party" proof here), Ciavarella's party affiliation (Democrat, natch) has gone virtually unmentioned.

One such non-party-identifying example (overall details to follow) this evening comes from the Associated Press's Michael Rubinkam. Those who are unaware of the outrages allegedly perpetrated by the these judges need to brace themselves:

Jury continues deliberations in Pa. judge trial

 

A federal jury deliberated 7 1/2 hours Thursday without reaching a verdict in the corruption trial of a former northeastern Pennsylvania judge charged in a bribery-and-extortion scheme involving two privately owned juvenile detention centers.

 

Deliberations will resume Friday morning in the trial of former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, who is accused of accepting more than $2 million in kickbacks from the builder of the juvenile lockups and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the owner. Prosecutors said Ciavarella sent youth offenders to the private jails while he was taking the cash.

 

The jurors were considering a 36-count racketeering indictment that included charges of bribery, extortion and fraud. A second judge in the case has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count and awaits sentencing.

 

The defendant's wife, Cindy Ciavarella, said she was "doing OK" under the circumstances.

 

"It's the worst nightmare that you can ever imagine. It's horrible for your family," she said as she left the courthouse Thursday. "I don't wish it on anybody, that's for sure."

 

Ciavarella took the stand in his own defense and acknowledged receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care juvenile lockups, but he contended the payments were legal "finder's fees." He denied extorting Robert Powell, the owner of the detention centers.

 

The state Supreme Court tossed thousands of juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he violated defendants' rights.

Ms. Ciavarella can cry me a river. Her "nightmare" is nothing compared to how horrible it is that hordes of juvenile first-time minor offenders got sent to youth detention centers for, according to prosecutors, no reason other than to line somebody's pockets.

A Google News search on ["Mark Ciavarella" jury] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets, sorted by date) returns 191 results. A similar search on ["Mark Ciavarella" Democrat] returns six. The reasons those six results appear have nothing to do with the judge. Five of them (here, here, here, here, and here) have references to unrelated linked stories that happen to be about Democrats elsewhere on their web pagea. The sixth is about a Democrat who is running to be a Luzerne County judge. He's ID'd as a Democrat; Ciavarella, whose name also appears in the article, is not.

National news readers should know and arguably would want to know that two judges (the other is Michael Conahan) who had no trouble traumatizing hundreds and perhaps thousands of minor juvenile offenders and their families by treating them as if they were hardened criminals are or were members of the alleged "party of compassion." That they mostly won't is a journalistic disgrace.

Other previous related "Name That Party" posts about judges Ciavarella and Conahan are here, here, and here.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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UPDATE, Feb. 18: A 3:07 p.m. Friday report at AP on continues the non-party-naming tradition.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.