Class Action Lawsuits Against Corrupt Family Judges Mount

7 Jul

A federal judge combined several lawsuits filed against the former judges, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, into a unified class-action case in what has come to be known as the “kids for cash” scandal.

The extensive list of plaintiffs – over 4,000 – were found to involve a common enough set of facts and legal questions to combine them into one suit, which means that after four years with little progress plaintiffs may finally see their day in court.

The cases have been brought forward by hundreds of parents and children who claim that they were victimized by the two former judges as part of a kickback scheme. Ciavarella and Conahan pleaded guilty in court to making $2.6 million in exchange for sending juveniles to privately run detention centers, PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care, between 2003 and 2008.

Ciavarella sentenced children to extended stays in private juvenile detention for offenses as minimal as mocking a principal via a social media website, trespassing into a vacant building and shoplifting DVDs from Wal-mart.

Arlington observers are closely watching and are expecting similar suits to occur with regard to placement in private facilities such as Hallmark Youth Richmond and other private residential facilities.