Many people think of judges as model citizens and respected members of communities. However, this does not mean that there are not corrupt ones out there. Pennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella, Jr. has just been handed a sentence of 28 years in prison for selling kids to prisons for a personal profit.
He has been accepting money under the table from a developer and has been putting thousands of juveniles and adults, down to the age of just 10 years old, into incarceration. He has made more than a million dollars doing this. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned approximately 4,000 convictions that were issued by this judge between the years 2003 and 2008. His judgments have been ruled as invalid, because they entailed violating the constitutional rights of juveniles, such as the right to intelligently enter a plea and the right to legal counsel.
One example of juveniles that have been victimized by this judge is Hillary Transue, a 15 year old girl who had to serve three months at a juvenile detention center because she mocked an assistant principal on MySpace. There was also 13 year old Shane Bly, who was forced into boot camp for two weekends after dealing with an accusation of having trespassed in a vacant building.
Robert Mericle, who built the juvenile detention centers in question, has been accepting money for these kids. He has been fined two million dollars and given a one year prison sentence for his role in this particular scheme.