PA Supreme Court Reverses Hundreds Of Juvenile Convictions

Niko J. Kallianiotis for NYT

Judge Michael T. Conahan (Photo: Niko J. Kallianiotis for NYT)

You may remember my post about Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, the Pennsylvania judges that were accused of taking kickbacks to send juveniles to privately-run detention centers.

Last month, the judges pleaded guilty to fraud and now face 7 years in jail. (That’s it?!)

Today, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has advised “expunging the records of low-level offenders who appeared in Ciavarella’s courtroom without lawyers — a group he has said numbered ‘easily into the hundreds.'”

Pennsylvania law stupidly allows juveniles to waive their right to counsel if done “knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily” and if the judge explains the juvenile’s rights to him/her. The Supreme Court determined that most of the juveniles that waived their right to counsel in Ciavarella’s court did not do so according to the above conditions.

The Supreme Court will next examine more serious juvenile convictions from Ciavarella and Conahan’s courts.

Source: Convictions Reversed In Pennsylvania (AP)

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