A Pennsylvania juvenile court judge was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in prison for accepting some $1 million in bribes from a builder of two juvenile detention centers.
Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr., 61, was convicted earlier of racketeering in a scheme where he sent juveniles as young as 10 to the detention facilities.
Ciavarella apologized to the court before the sentence, but denied he incarcerated any juveniles in return for money. The federal prosecution in the case, however, referred to Ciavarella repeatedly during the trial as the “kids for cash" judge, describing him as “vicious and mean spirited.”
After the sentencing, Sandy Fonzo, the mother of Edward Kenzakoski III, who committed suicide years after being sent to detention by Ciavarella, told the Scranton Times-Tribune ,“I believe it was just. I believe it was right.”
The case prompted Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court to reverse out some 4,000 convictions of juveniles that were handed down by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008.
Another Pennsylvania judge, Michael Conahan was also charged with taking around $1 million in bribes from the same builder. He pled guilty last year but has yet to be sentenced.