ONE JUDGE DIES FROM AN OVERDOSE–SECOND JUDGE CHARGED WITH POSSESSION

Michael Cook, St. Clair County, Illinois drug court judge resigned after he was charged in Federal Court with possession of heroin and related weapons charges. His friend and colleague on the bench, Judge Joseph D. Christ, a former prosecutor died in Cook’s family hunting cabin from a cocaine overdose in March. Cook was the only other person present in the lodge but he is not considered a suspect. At the time of his arrest Cook was at the residence of […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS DENIAL OF HABEAS CORPUS DESPITE MIRANDA VIOLATION

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Dyer v. Hornbeck, decided last week demonstrates the importance of attempting to win a criminal case in the trial court or on direct appeal instead of relying on a writ of habeas corpus in Federal Court. The rules on habeas are set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Where an issue has been decided by a state court, on its merits, a Federal Court cannot grant a […] Read more »

UPDATE: LUCERNE COUNTY AFTER THE CONVICTION OF TWO JUVENILE COURT JUDGES

Former Lucerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were convicted last year for receiving over a million dollars in bribes from developers of private prisons for sending juveniles to their facilities. Since the scandal came to light the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reversed the convictions of 2,251 juveniles sentenced by Ciavarella and Conahan. Part of the Lucerne County system under Ciavarella and Conahan was that the juveniles were routinely denied the right of counsel. As a […] Read more »

PENNSYLVANIA JUDGE CHARGED WITH BRIBERY

Another Pennsylvania judge has been charged with bribery. Judge Ross Cioppa of Bradford Hills has been charged with bribery for attempting to exchange favorable decision in landlord tenant matters to two women in exchange for sex. In addition to bribery the 70 year old judges is also charged with indecent assault and official oppression. In one matter he is alleged to have asked a female litigant, facing eviction to massage his genitals. When she refused he obtained her approval to […] Read more »

FORMER JUVENILE JUDGE MARK CIAVARELLA JR.SENTENCED TO 28 YEARS IN KIDS FOR CASH SCHEME

Former Lucerne County, Pennsylvania Juvenile Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced to 28 years in Federal prison for excepting bribes from a company that builds private jails in exchange for sending children to the company’s facilities in the “Kids for Cash” scandal. He received a million dollar from the companies building the private jails and he attempted to extort money from the owner of the jails. A colleague on the bench, Michael Conahan, who is yet to be sentenced on […] Read more »

FORMER JUDGE CIAVARELLA CONVICTED

Former Luzerne County Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. was found guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy and a host of tax fraud charges in what has become known as the“Kids for Cash Scandal.” As a juvenile court judge, it was alleged that Ciavarella received money from a for profit company in exchange for sending children to the company’s private jail. Many of the children were sent to the facility for […] Read more »

LA JUDGE REVERSES CONVICTIONS IN CONSPIRACY TO PROVIDE ANNA NICOLE SMITH DRUGSCASE

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry dismissed all convictions against Anna Nicole Smith’s lawyer/manager/lover Howard Stern and reduced her psychiatrist’s, Khristine Eroshevich, two felony conviction to a single misdemeanor charge. Originally Stern, Eroshevich, and Smith’s personal physician, Sandeep Kapoor, were charged with twenty three counts relating to an alleged conspiracy to provide Smith with drugs. The jury refused to convict Kapoor and either found Stern and Eroshevich not guilty or hung on nineteen of the twenty-three counts […] Read more »

UPDATE: CORRUPT JUDGES CONVICTED FOR INCARCERATING JUVENILES IN EXCHANGE FOR KICKBACKS

When we last visited the story of Mark Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan, about a month ago, the former Luzerne County Pennsylvania juvenile court judges had allegedly received kickbacks from a private jail in exchange for sending kids to the facility. In the process they denied the kids the right to an attorney and ran roughshod over the kids constitutional rights. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward M. Kosik rejected a sweetheart deal they made with prosecutors to spend a significantly […] Read more »

UPDATE: CORRUPT JUDGES CONVICTED FOR INCARCERATING JUVENILES IN EXCHANGE FOR KICKBACKS–SUPREME COURT PRESERVES RECORDS FOR CIVIL SUIT

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed itself and decided to preserve the approximately 6500 files of the juveniles who were sentenced by former judge Mark Ciavarella who was charged with receiving kickback from a private prison company in exchange for sending juveniles to the prison. Last month the Supreme Court vacated the juveniles’ convictions. When a conviction is vacated the normal procedure is to destroy the files but by maintaining the files the Supreme Court is allowing the juveniles to sue […] Read more »

UPDATE: CORRUPT JUDGES CONVICTED FOR INCARCERATING JUVENILES IN EXCHANGE FOR KICKBACKS–JUDGE REJECTS PLEA BARGAIN

Former Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court and Michael T. Conahan of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas plead guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. The pleas were a result of an investigation which showed that they accepted kickbacks in exchange for sending juveniles to a private jail. They entered into plea agreements under which each would do 87 months in Federal prisons. U. S District Judge Edward M. Kosik rejected the […] Read more »