Here Come 'Da Judge.
February 11, 2009 2:48 PM Subscribe
On January 26th. two Pennsylvania judges were charged with taking $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care. The judges are scheduled to plead guilty to fraud tomorrow in federal court."Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses." The judges are also accussed of helping the two firms "attain nearly $30 million in county contracts." A preliminary audit [PDF] of the companies has also turned up questionable expenses billed to the state. College basketball tickets, fishing trips and a $3,500 suit are among $1.26 million in expenses under scrutiny.
"Among the offenders were teenagers who were locked up for months for stealing loose change from cars, writing a prank note and possessing drug paraphernalia. Many had never been in trouble before. Some were imprisoned even after probation officers recommended against it.Oh, and the owner of the detention centers is now claiming he was the victim of an extortion scheme perpetrated by the judges.
Many appeared without lawyers, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1967 ruling [In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1] that children have a constitutional right to counsel."
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