Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. of Luzerne County in Pennsylvania was sentenced on Thursday. Ciavarella got 28 years in prison for receiving one million dollars via bribes. He was acquitted on 27 counts and convicted on 12.
Ciavarella took bribes from the constructor of juvenile hall institutions to convict kids so that more money would go to the constructor, as more kids would need to be housed.
The case was dubbed “kids for cash” as the judge essentially traded the freedom of thousands of children for money.
When the sentence was announced, Ciavarella did not show any reaction. The courtroom was filled with some of the families of the kids he wrongfully convicted.
Due to what Ciavarella did, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court went back and took back approximately four thousand convictions by the former judge between the years of 2003 and 2008.
The state Supreme Court said that Ciavarella did not allow the children their constitutional rights to having lawyers and to truly think about their plea before entering it.
Ciavarella’s lawyers asked for a light sentence, as the tarnishing of his name in newspapers and other media outlets was already a great punishment.
Ciavarella apologized for what happened to the children and took the blame, but said he never took bribes. He also criticized the dubbing of the case as “kids for cash” as it instantly hurt his reputation in the minds of millions.