From her perch as Luzerne County district attorney, Jacqueline Musto Carroll agreed that juvenile defendants convicted as part of a corrupt "cash-for-kids" scandal ought to have their cases thrown out.
But not all of them.
Under Thursday's sweeping Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, about 6,500 juveniles convicted over a five-year period by former Luzerne County Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. will have their records expunged.
That leaves about 100 cases that may be reopened - serious offenses in which the defendant was represented by counsel, and is either still incarcerated or involved in the juvenile justice system through probation, treatment, or unpaid fines or restitution.
Citing "a travesty of justice," the state's highest court followed the recommendation of Judge Arthur Grim of Berks County, whom it appointed in February to review all cases involving Ciavarella under the cash-for-kids scheme.
Prosecutors argue that the former judge deprived young defendants of their right to counsel, ordered them into detention even when probation officers did not recommend it, pressured those officers to change their recommendations, and then institutionalized youths for offenses as minor as fighting with other students in school.
The Luzerne County District Attorney's Office has 30 days to identify the defendants it wants to prosecute again. It must then submit the list to Grim, who will determine case by case which should go forward.
Full Article and Source:
Luzerne DA to Reopen Some "Cash-For-Kids Cases"
Thousands of Juvenile Convictions Overturned