New law to create corruption commission

    A new law will create a commission to study a widespread judicial corruption case in Luzerne County.

    A new law will create a commission to study a widespread judicial corruption case in Luzerne County.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090807sdcommish.mp3]

    Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille calls the Luzerne County scandal, where two judges received millions of dollars in kickbacks for sending children to private juvenile detention centers, “a system failure.”

    The newly-formed commission will study the case, and issue a report detailing what went wrong and how to prevent future corruption. Many of the juveniles who appeared before Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan did so without legal representation. Governor Rendell wants the commission to question why that was allowed to happen.

    Rendell: I think the statistics that I read about people being sentenced to detention without counsel-that alone should have raised a huge red flag somewhere along in this process. And I think the chief is right. That’s something that’s got to be taken into account.

    Castille will appoint four members to the commission, and each legislative caucus will send one representative. Governor Rendell will appoint three panelists, as well.

    The commission will have subpoena power, and will issue its final report in May 2010.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.