Thank you, your honor. Good morning.
Your honor, this has been a long road for me. It has been difficult, embarrassing, damaged my reputation beyond repair. I've lost everything that I worked for my entire life, and I'm about to go to prison.
Your honor, I deserve these consequences because of what I've done.
First, please allow me to apologize to the children and the families of the children that appeared in juvenile court in Luzerne County.
You are the vulnerable people of our society and are entitled to have decisions based upon what is in your best interests. I let you down the most. My actions undermined your faith in the system and contributed to the great difficulty in your lives.
I was the president judge, I owed you better. I'm grateful that the Supreme Court overturned your findings of delinquency and expunged your records. I am sorry you were victimized.
I apologize to the staff and the probation department of the juvenile court. I was the president judge and I should have let you do better things for those juveniles. I let you down. You deserved better from me.
To all of those people who lost faith in the juvenile justice system, I ask that you please keep in mind the system was not corrupt, I was corrupt.
The system has integrity, I did not perform my duties the way I should have, and I do not have integrity.
I apologize to the citizens of Luzerne County because your faith in government has been shaken, as a result of the dark cloud I placed over all of us. I let you down personally and professionally.
I hope that both the prosecutions of public officials and public officials like me accepting responsibility and admitting their criminal actions will restore your faith in government.
Your honor, Luzerne County is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. The county and its government were not corrupt, I was corrupt.
I also apologize to the legal community and the judiciary. I've tarnished the reputation and trust that people have placed in lawyers and in the judiciary.
I think I did some good as a judge, however, I lost my way, and any good I have done over the years will forever be overshadowed by my criminal acts.
The public has the right to expect that lawyers act with integrity at all times. As a lawyer, I failed.
The public has a right to expect that the judiciary is built upon the foundation of upholding truth and honesty. As a judge, I failed.
The judicial system was not bad or corrupt, your honor, I was corrupt.
Your Honor, I lost my way and violated my oath and broke the law.
Over the past two years, I've come to understand these facts. I worked long and hard to try and understand all the wrong that I've done and why I did it and to try and understand how I can atone for it.
Throughout this process, my family and close friends never left my side. They have given me the love and support I needed so that I could step back and examine my life and my conduct.
I have a lot of time to think about what I did. My failures and this process helped me to look at myself, and I did not like what I saw. I disappointed and hurt so many people.
I apologize to my family and friends for putting them through all of this.
I apologize to the public for putting them through all of this.
I realize that mere words cannot change the pain that so many people are feeling, but I hope it's a beginning, and I'm sorry.
What I did was wrong, what I did damaged a great many people, and I hope that going forward, the citizens, the public, and most importantly, the children of Luzerne County can begin to heal and that their faith in the legal system, in government and the Judiciary can be restored.
From my part, I will work the rest of my life to atone for what I've done.
Michael T. Conahan's Statement to the Court