Corruption

The Good News: Your Record Was Expunged. The Bad News: Your Record Was Expunged.

|

Here's a weird wrinkle to the scandal involving two Pennsylvania judges who got paid for sending juvenile offenders to a pair of private detention centers: The state Supreme Court has ordered that the files generated by the tainted cases—involving some 6,500 youths who appeared before Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008—be destroyed. That will give railroaded defendants a clean record, but it will also prevent them from pursuing civil remedies. The court amended its order so that the records of 400 plaintiffs who have already sued Ciavarella will be preserved, but according to The New York Times that still leaves unprotected the "records of about 6,100 remaining youths, who either had not been told of their rights stemming from the judicial corruption case or had yet to request their records." Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan, the judge who arranged the contract with the company that ran the detention centers, received millions of dollars in bribes. After pleading guilty to federal tax evasion and wire fraud charges, they each received seven-year prison sentences. 

The Juvenile Law Center has more here.

NEXT: That This Is Beautiful for D.C. Tells You Everything You Need to Know About D.C.'s Beauty

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “After pleading guilty to federal tax evasion and wire fraud charges, they each received seven-year prison sentences.”

    I know I am going to go to hell for this, but I can’t help but hope they are being violently raped right now as I type this. Scumbags. I also hope the plaintiffs win large settlements against them and they are condemed to street begging and living under a bridge for the rest of their lives.

  2. It’s retarded on it’s face to completely destroy all documents. All that needs to be done is their criminal records be wiped clean with regard to their public status as innocent persons able to obtain work, get driver’s licenses, etc. They need to keep a record with a big CLEAR or CLEAN or VOID stamped on it any time that happens so there is recourse or at least an accurate history of the injustice. Why are all government people so f’ing stupid?

  3. Is there a particular reason not to simply send the records to the victims to do with as they choose?

  4. All that needs to be done is their criminal records be wiped clean with regard to their public status as innocent persons able to obtain work, get driver’s licenses, etc.

    Nick, from what I understand, even if you have a record with “cleared” or “acquitted” in it, it still pops up on background checks that you were arrested for it, and went to court. And this causes red flags for things like concealed carry permits, certain types of work, etc. The only way to not have that happen is to expunge the record.

    It may be stupid, but it’s probably the only way to give these kids a truly clean record.

  5. Then let’s expunge the records AFTER the lawsuits, or when ever the VICTIM decides, not the CYA courts.

  6. There is no reason the criminal records couldn’t be expunged while retaining them for possible future litigation.

  7. Agreed, Dello, but they’re obviously trying to head off a number of the lawsuits at the pass. This surprises me not at all.

  8. I know I am going to go to hell for this, but I can’t help but hope they are being violently raped right now as I type this. Scumbags.

    I agree….and I am not worried about going to hell. I’ve told God to suck my cock way too many times. …and hell is where they keep the Jack Daniels. Anywhoo, a lousy 7 years for fucking up all those lives. Yeah, I hope they live in a cave with colostomy bags.

  9. So if a defendant kept all his or her copies, couldn’t they use those as a basis to file an action? What is the court gonna do? Are they really so intellectually dishonest as to pretend that a particular case didn’t happen just because some paper was destroyed? This is one of the things I hate about the law. There is reality, then there is legal-reality. And the fact that judges will allow legal-reality to have no bearing on reality just goes to show they are just as corrupt as any7 average legislature.

  10. For anyone else, intentional destruction of records in anticipation of litigation would be illegal.

    I’m wondering if there isn’t a federal civil rights case in this somewhere, aimed at the violation of the due process rights of anyone who has their records destroyed.

  11. troy,

    I doubt you’d find Jack Daniels in Hell, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was plenty of Bud Light. Warm, of course.

  12. They can print and file hard copies for possible and pending lawsuits and delete the entries in the databases. No?

  13. this is really fucked up. it happened right in my area. check out http://www.wnep.com (the local news stations website) to see an interview with that scumsucker Ciavarella.

  14. Episiarch | July 30, 2009, 12:25pm | #

    … they’re obviously trying to head off a number of the lawsuits at the pass

    Thats exactly how i read this.

    They want to bury it and pretend it never happened and not have to spend the next 10 years in lawsuits trying to establish the extent of damage done, and having to answer questions about how justice could miscarry so badly and why no one ever really tried to stop it.

    Of course , they will do it in the name of ‘protecting the children’. As Billy Dee Williams would say: “Works every time”

  15. I wonder how this will effect security clearances for those that go into the military or government. Expunged records still exist and are available for security clearance review. I could see government saying no to someone if there is a note, but no record.

  16. Seven years isn’t even close to what those bastards deserve. A just sentence would be double the total of the time in custody that they inflicted on their victims. If that adds up to a couple dozen human lifetimes, that would be about right.

    -jcr

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.