Recently here in Northeast Pennsylvania (Our Motto: “In the the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”) we have had a spate of judges being caught with their assets hanging out.
Without becoming a news blog, (little danger of that) to summarize, here is a typical article, this one from CNN
“Luzerne County, in the heart of Pennsylvania’s struggling coal country, has also fallen prey to corruption. The county has been rocked by a kickback scandal involving two elected judges who essentially jailed kids for cash. Many of the children had appeared before judges without a lawyer.
Ciavarella pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal criminal charges of fraud and other tax charges, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Former Luzerne County Senior Judge Michael Conahan also pleaded guilty to the same charges. The two secretly received more than $2.6 million, prosecutors said.
The judges have been disbarred and have resigned from their elected positions.
Ciavarella, 58, along with Conahan, 56, corruptly and fraudulently “created the potential for an increased number of juvenile offenders to be sent to juvenile detention facilities,” federal court documents alleged. Children would be placed in private detention centers, under contract with the court, to increase the head count. In exchange, the two judges would receive kickbacks.
By the way, this phrase: “Luzerne County, in the heart of Pennsylvania’s struggling coal country is what we in “struggling coal country” love to see in print. Hello, rest of the world. Coal has not been mined here in any quantity since the Knox mine disaster in 1959. We may be “struggling” but it has nothing to do with coal. So please strike that from your cliche’s to fill up word count hand book. Thank you.
Where was I?
Another Luzerne County Judge Michael Toole pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Toole admitted in open court that he was opening up to a thirty pack daily of cold frosty ones. You have to admire a man who can do that. Gives the phrase “Sober as a judge” a new meaning.
So judges don’t have a great reputation in my area right now. There are, in fact, people I know who spit on the sidewalk when you mention the word judge.
There is some sort of primary upcoming. May 17th, if I have this right, voters will get to choose some new potential future judges.
I don’t follow politics. I did register to vote and voted once in my life. It didn’t work out then and I have no evidence to support the idea that it might work out again.
I know we need judges. I have met some that I actually thought were fair and impartial.
I think that you might find one in Luzerne County someday. With a strong light.
But right now I can’t imagine anyone who has a lick of sense would want to be one.
But that idea has not apparently lodged in the brains of the would be’s wanna be’s. I know this because I see the signs.
The signs on the highways to be more specific. Those little “yard signs” that pop up like daffodils.
I am a law abiding citizen. I have great respect for marketing.
But the life expectancy of signs for judges (or any candidate for any office) on or even near the Rising ranch is similar to that of Drosophila melanogaster.
TheRant D’Jour has a choice movie clip.
Sometimes I think I am developing “Clint Eastwood” Disease… more