Thursday, March 26, 2009

How many cases can a court overturn in one fell swoop?

Back in February, I wrote about two judges in Pennsylvania who were pleading guilty to fraud charges in connection with their handling of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of juvenile defendants. The two judges had been funneling the kids into private detention facilities in exchange for kickbacks from those private kiddie prisons. In many cases, the kids were denied all kinds of due process and were often not provided attorneys.

Today comes the good news that a judge appointed to review cases of one of the judges concluded that hundreds of juveniles had been denied their constitutional rights. As a result, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has issued a blanket ruling, overturning hundreds of juvenile convictions. This case only addresses the defendants screwed over by one of the biased judges. Presumably, the same review process is also occurring in cases handled by the other corrupt judge.

The specially-appointed judge is focusing his attention first on the cases of juveniles who are still incarcerated, obviously, as they might actually be spared some detention time. Sadly, an awful lot of kids have long since served their unjustified detention terms. There is no way to fix what was done to those kids who were railroaded by a morally bankrupt judge who was more interested in padding his own bank account than treating kids fairly. This county has a lot of clean-up work ahead of it, but this ruling, coming so close after the two judges plead, is a good start.

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