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Friday, February 11, 2011

Judge Cleland About "Kids For Cash" At Pitt-Bradford

CLELAND TO SPEAK AT PITT-BRADFORD ON ROLE IN INVESTIGATNG ‘KIDS FOR CASH’ SCANDAL

BRADFORD, Pa. -- McKean County’s former President Judge John Cleland will speak about his role in leading an investigation of the Luzerne County “kids for cash” judicial scandal, called by some the biggest judicial corruption case in American legal history.

Cleland was named chairman of the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which investigated what Cleland called “the breathtaking collapse of the juvenile justice system in Luzerne County.”

Cleland’s talk will take place at 7 p.m. February 16 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall on the Pitt-Bradford campus.

The Interbranch Commission was organized in August 2009 and held months of hearings before issuing its final report in May 2010.

The Commission made more than 40 recommendations, including suggesting changes in juvenile court rules of procedure, reforms in the ways judges and attorneys are disciplined for professional misconduct, elimination of school “zero tolerance” policies, and enhanced training for prosecutors and public defenders.

One of the judges involved in the scandal, Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr., is currently on trial in federal court in Scranton.

In a 39-count indictment, Ciavarella has been charged with a variety of federal crimes involving $2.8 million in kickbacks in connection with the development of two privately owned Pennsylvania juvenile detention facilities to which he then sentenced delinquent children.

A second judge, Michael T. Conahan, has already pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges arising from his role in the scheme.

In October 2009 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed more than 4,000 adjudications of delinquency entered in Luzerne County -- every case heard by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008.

Following Cleland’s talk, a group of criminal justice students will ask a series of questions. The student panel includes Scott Burton of Ellwood City, Ryan Hunter of Harleysville, Gino Macioce of Verona, Stephanie Makin of Colver, Kyle Yeager of Bear Lake and Rebecca Zipay of South Park.

Cleland, of Kane, served on the Pennsylvania Superior Court from 2008 to 2010. He currently serves as a senior judge. He was the president judge of the McKean County Court of Common Pleas from 1984 to 2008.

Cleland has serves on the advisory board of Pitt-Bradford and was its chairman from 1995 to 2005.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and his law degree from The George Washington University.

For disability related needs, contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services at 814-362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

cleland is no longer a senior judge