Judicial board ignored complaints on Luzerne judge

    The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has admitted in writing that it never investigated complaints made against a former Luzerne County judge that accuse him of taking money in exchange for sending children to juvenile detention centers.

    The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has admitted in writing that it never investigated complaints made against a former Luzerne County judge that accuse him of taking money in exchange for sending children to juvenile detention centers.

    WHYY’s Megan Pinto explains.

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    In a 12-page document submitted to the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, JCB’s Chief Council Joseph Massa wrote that the board did not conduct interviews or review documents related to complaints of misconduct on the bench.

    The four neglected complaints suggest that former judge Michael Conahan was involved in a kids-for-cash scandal dating back to 2004.

    Shira Goodman is the Deputy Director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. She says this weakens public trust in the judicial discipline system.

    Goodman:
    I think people are going to lose faith that there is and was a body that’s there to protect them. I think people might worry about why bother complaining? who is going to listen to those complaints?

    Conahan and another former Luzerne County Judge face federal racketeering charges for allegedly taking nearly 3 million dollars from the builder and former co-owner of a private juvenile detention center.

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