Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear guilty pleas from 2 Luzerne County judges.
West Palm Beach, FL (JusticeNewsFlash.com)–The Pennsylvania Supreme Court removed two Luzerne County judges from the bench on Wednesday, January 28, 2009. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Luzerne County Justices Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were charged in federal court on Monday, January 26, 2009, in a fraud scheme allegedly taking $2.6 million in kickbacks.
According to court documents, Judge Ciavarella was suspended with pay and former senior Judge Conahan was stripped of his judge certification and removed without pay. The justices were charged with taking money in return for guaranteeing placement of juvenile criminal offenders into two privately owned detention facilities. Justice Conahan retired his full time bench position over a year ago but continued to reside over court proceedings as a senior judge.
According to prosecuting attorneys for the state of Pennsylvania and the judges defense lawyers, both justices have agreed to plead guilty to fraud. According to criminal attorneys, both judges face sentences of over 7 years in federal prison if the court accepts the plea agreements.
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