Luzerne County judge scandal sets state lawmakers to action

    State lawmakers are reacting to the Luzerne County judges scandal with a series of new bills. One sponsor says the measures are aimed to help unfairly sentenced juveniles, and cut back on future corruption.

    State lawmakers are reacting to the Luzerne County judges scandal with a series of new bills. One sponsor says the measures are aimed to help unfairly sentenced juveniles, and cut back on future corruption.

    Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are facing up to seven years in prison for taking more than $2.6 million in exchange for sentencing youths to time at private juvenile detention centers.

    Luzerne County Senator Lisa Baker, a Republican, wants to set up a compensation fund to pay for the scandal’s victims. She says it would pay for therapy and other needed treatment.

    Baker: We don’t know what the ramifications of this will be for children and families. It could be year, two years or many years down the road. So we want to make sure we have sufficient resources in place to address the needs moving forward.

    Baker has also introduced a bill that would make sure juveniles don’t appear before judges without legal representation. Many of the Luzerne County victims were told they didn’t need a lawyer during hearings before the two convicted judges.

    House Democratic Majority Leader Todd Eachus is sponsoring similar legislation.

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