In our ongoing series, Are You Judicially Serious? We have bought you much hilarity. But this one takes the cake and reminds us that for every hilarious story of a Judge Gone Bad, there is a related story of just how much damage is done.
Today’s article concerns a very special kind of Judicial Jester – the KickBacker…
How it worked was that every time the Judge sent a juvenile into prison, he would recieve a kick-back for doing so (assuming that the child would go into one of the Powell and Mericle prisons).
Here he is. Bad Judge.
The judge sent thousands of children into custody. One 10-year-old girl was sentenced to gaol for accidentally setting her house on fire while playing with a lighter, even though the landlord didn’t want to press charges. An 11-year-old got nearly two years for taking out his mother’s car and driving it over a curb(she only reported it because of the insurance), and a 14-year-old got three months for making fun of a teacher on MySpace. Most of these kids didn’t have lawyers, and their hearings often lasted less than two minutes.
“They said ‘MySpace’ and I was like, ‘Ugh, guilty.’”
Eventually Ciavarella’s method became too obvious for the courts to ignore: His convictions went from 4.5 percent when he took office in 1997 to 26 percent by 2004. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, but not before causing around 4,000 previous convictions to be overturned.
The poor children.