Judges are human- some are criminals.

Most people hold judges in high regard.

They’ve got a tough job to do, and most of them try to do it well.

That’s all I ask of  judges (and politicians). TRY to do your job well.

I understand that sometimes they get it wrong. Not everyone is perfect.

Judges are no exception.

I’ve seen judges struggle with some of the decisions they’ve had to make.

They’ve looked at a criminal defendant, and I know they’ve said to themselves: “I think you did it. But I’m not sure that you did it. Because I’m not sure, I can’t say that the prosecutor proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Because of that, I have to find you not guilty. But I think you did it!”

I respect those judges.

In many cases, they’ve acquitted defendants  . . . by following the law.

I could tell they didn’t like doing it. But they tried their best to get it right.

They didn’t want to convict an innocent person.

Then there’s the case of a former juvenile court judge from Scranton, Pa, who sent thousands of children to detention centers.

Mark Ciavarella was convicted last Friday of racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy.

The allegation:

That he took a $1 million kickback from the builder of for-profit detention facilities.

“Kids for cash”it’s being called.

In other words, he sent kids to jail so that he could get rich.

Now thousands of Ciavarella’s judgments have been overturned.

And the State’s high court said he ran his courtroom with “complete disregard for the constitutional rights of the juveniles,” including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea.

Ciavarella left the bench a few years ago . . . in disgrace.

Now he’s facing more than 12 years in jail.

He still  insists the payments were legal, and denied that he incarcerated youths for money

He’ll appeal his conviction.

But for now, he’s guilty in the eyes of the law.

A dishonest judge going to jail for, not just breaking the law . . .

but for breaking the trust society must have for someone in his position.

I started this blog post by stating that “Most people hold judges in high regard.”

I still believe that’s the case.

But am I right in holding this belief?

I’ve always recognized that there are going to be good and bad in every profession.

And I think that Ciavarella is the exception.

But what do you think.

How does reading about someone this case make you feel?

And does a case like this shake your faith in the criminal justice system?

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply