First two judges shut down the country-run juvenile detention center and help privatizers secure rich contracts worth tens of millions of dollars, at least some of that dependent on how many juveniles were locked up. Then Judges Conahan and Ciavarella pocket $2.6 million in kick-backs for sentencing kids to prison terms for minor infractions.
Conahan’s cover was blown when, in a most bizarre case, he sentenced a Wilkes-Barre high school student Hillary Transue to three months in prison for the unspeakable crime of publishing a piece of satire on a MySpace page that “mocked” an assistant principal.
Now everyone is wondering why juveniles like Hillary don’t have the right to legal counsel when they are charged.
Last year, the Juvenile Law Center, which had raised concerns about Judge Ciavarella in the past, filed a motion to the State Supreme Court about more than 500 juveniles who had appeared before the judge without representation. (NYT)
But I also wonder why the high school (name of the school is never mentioned in any of the national press coverage) would have one of its students arrested on such an outrageous charge in the first place?