Pa. judge dismisses 2,000 juvenile cases in ‘kids for cash’ scandal

    A judge brought in to clean up after a “kids for cash” scandal has expunged every juvenile court case decided by a Pennsylvania jurist convicted of corruption.

    Senior Judge Arthur Grim was selected almost three years ago to review juvenile court cases decided by former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, who’s serving time in jail for his involvement in the corruption case.

    As a result of Grim’s efforts, records have been expunged for more than 2,000 juveniles sentenced by Ciavarella.

    Ciavarella and another ex-judge are serving federal prison sentences for sending juveniles to for-profit youth detention centers in return for money.

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    Grim called the handling of juvenile cases in Luzerne County a judicial process “run amok,” and he gave recommendations to prevent such renegade justice again.

    Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille said Thursday that Grim has suggested many reforms that require legislative action, but the courts have already changed certain rules to treat kids more fairly.

    One of them is you can’t shackle these kids in court,” said Castille. “It’s what Ciavarella was doing. He’d find them guilty of, say, shoplifting, and he’d order them shackled and hauled out of court right then and there. You don’t want to be shackled and hauled out of court if you’re nonviolent or not dangerous, it’s kind of demeaning.”

    Castille lauded Grim for the job he has done in rectifying what the chief justice called “a disgrace and a tragedy.”

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