INVESTIGATION

Investigation 

An investigation into improper sentencing in Luzerne County began early in 2007 as a result of requests for assistance from several youths received by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. Lawyers from the law center determined that several hundred cases were tried without the defendants receiving proper counsel. In April 2008, the Juvenile Law Center petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeking relief for alleged violation of the youths’ civil rights. The application of relief was later denied, then reconsidered in January 2009 when charges of corruption against the judges surfaced.[1]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service also investigated the two judges, although the exact dates and scope of the investigations by the two federal agencies were not made public.[2] Part of the investigation was revealed to have occurred during disciplinary hearings over the conduct of another former Luzerne County judge, Anne H. Lokuta.[3] Lokuta was brought before the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania in November 2006 to answer charges of using court workers to do her personal bidding, openly displaying bias against some attorneys arguing before her, and publicly berating staff to cause mental distress.[4]The board ruled against Lokuta in November 2008, and she was removed from the bench. During the course of the disciplinary hearings, Lokuta accused then Judge Michael Conahan of bullying behavior and charged that he was behind a conspiracy to have her removed.[5] Lokuta aided the federal investigation into the “kids for cash” scheme prior to the determination of the disciplinary board, and a stay order was issued in March 2009 by the state Supreme Court in light of the ongoing corruption investigations, halting Lokuta’s removal and the election that was to be held in May to replace her.[6]

 

References  

  1.   “Luzerne County”. Juvenile Law Center. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. Retrieved2009-05-02.
  2.  Peter Hall and Leo Strupczewski (January 28, 2009).“Judges to Serve More Than Seven Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty in Kickbacks Probe”. The Legal Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  3.   Leo Strupczewski and Peter Hall (February 9, 2009).“Rumors Intensify About Investigation Into Allegations of Luzerne County Case-Fixing”. Pennsylvania Law Weekly. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  4. Morgan-Besecker, Terrie (November 5, 2008). “Board: Lokuta violated ethics”. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Retrieved 2009-08-27
  5.  Morgan-Besecker, Terrie (August 8, 2009). “Witnesses back Lokuta claim of conspiracy”. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Retrieved 2009-08-27
  6.   Morgan-Besecker, Terrie (March 26, 2009). “Ruling: Keep Lokuta seat off ballot”. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27.

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b
    Urbina, Ian (March 27, 2009). “Despite Red Flags, Judges Ran Kickback Scheme for Years”. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
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  3. Jump up^ “Pennsylvania rocked by ‘jailing kids for cash’ scandal”.
  4. Jump up^ Urbina, Ian (February 26, 2009). “70 Youths Sue Former Judges in Detention Kickback Case”. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
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  19. Jump up^ Leo Strupczewski and Peter Hall (February 9, 2009).“Rumors Intensify About Investigation Into Allegations of Luzerne County Case-Fixing”. Pennsylvania Law Weekly. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
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  22. Jump up^ Morgan-Besecker, Terrie (March 26, 2009). “Ruling: Keep Lokuta seat off ballot”. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
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  26. Jump up^ “Memorandum and Order of Judge Kosik” (PDF). United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
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  51. Jump up^ “Juvenile Law Center Adds Luzerne County as a Defendant in Federal Class Action Lawsuit”. Juvenile Law Center. April 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
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  55. Jump up^ Opinion of the Court Nos. 12-2016, 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013
  56. Jump up^ “House Bill No. 1648”. The Pennsylvania General Assembly. June 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
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  58. Jump up^ “Democratic leaders name nationally recognized expert to Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice”. Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus. August 17, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
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  60. Jump up^ Rich Drees (18 February 2011). Judge Featured In Moore’s CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY Found Guilty Of Racketeering. Film Buff Online. Retrieved 6 February 2014. See also: The ‘Kids for Cash’ Scandal from ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’.
  61. Jump up^ “Tom Hiddleston to Star in Legendary’s ‘Skull Island’ Film, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Directing”. IMDb. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  62. Jump up^ Rickey, Carrie (2014-02-04). “Movie Review: Kids for Cash | Ticket”. Phillymag.com. Retrieved 2014-05-01.
  63. Jump up^ “Kids For Cash: Inside One of the Nation’s Most Shocking Juvenile Justice Scandals”. Democracy Now!. Retrieved2014-05-01.
  64. Jump up^ “CNBC’s ‘American Greed’ will feature kids-for-cash scandal”. The Citizens’ Voice. 2014-01-10. Retrieved2014-06-03.
  65. Jump up^ Review: CSI: New York — ‘Crossroads’, CSIFiles.com
  66. Jump up^ stevelaudig says:. “Ripped from the Headlines: Greed, Corruption, and Hate Crimes in Northeastern Pennsylvania | The Public Record”. Pubrecord.org. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  67. Jump up^ “Wilkes-Barre, news, sports, obituaries, and classifieds for Luzerne County and Scranton | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton PA – www.timesleader.com”. Archives.timesleader.com. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  68. Jump up^ Michael R. Sisak (Staff Writer) (2009-12-17). “County judges provide TV fodder – News”. Standard Speaker. Retrieved 2012-11-16.