Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Dana Gardner, Jnan Dash, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva, Greg Wind

News Feed Item

Juvenile Law Center: "Kids For Cash" Judge Ciavarella Found Liable For Enactment Of Zero Tolerance Policies And Violation Of Kids' Constitutional Rights In Federal Civil Rights Action

JUVENILE LAW CENTER NOTES GROUND-BREAKING FINDING OF JUDICIAL LIABILITY

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Late yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania granted plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment against former Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella, the judge at the center of the now infamous 'kids for cash' scandal. Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo found that Ciavarella violated the constitutional rights of the children who appeared before him to an impartial tribunal, as guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Ciavarella is currently serving a 28-year federal prison sentence following his criminal conviction in February 2011 on charges arising out of the scandal.

While American courts have a long history of protecting judges from suit by litigants who have appeared before them, Judge A. Richard Caputo ruled that Ciavarella is not immune from suit for his non-judicial conduct associated with the violation of the children's rights. "Judicial immunity does not shelter Ciavarella's 'non-judicial conduct,'" the court noted, explaining that judicial acts traditionally include "issuing orders, resolving cases and controversies, making rulings, and sentencing criminal defendants."

In the 'kids for cash' civil lawsuit, the court found that certain of Ciavarella's actions were not protected under the judicial immunity doctrine, including Ciavarella's participation in a conspiracy to enact zero tolerance policies. The court specifically found that while Ciavarella served as judge of the juvenile court, he enacted an administrative policy that dictated instances in which probation officers had to file charges against and detain juveniles in Luzerne County. In his order, Judge Caputo states, "Ciavarella's enactment and expansion of a zero tolerance policy dictating how probation officers were to handle violations of probation and other charging decisions fall outside the scope of judicial action…  Because Ciavarella's enactment and expansion of the zero tolerance policy were non-judicial acts, judicial immunity does not shield this conduct."

The court also found that Ciavarella's role in closing the former Luzerne County Juvenile Detention Center to make way for the construction and exclusive use of the private, for-profit Pennsylvania Child Care facility, as well as his monitoring of the financial success of that facility and concealment of the more than $2.7 million he and former Judge Michael Conahan received from the former co-owner and developer of the facility, were likewise non-judicial acts. Judge Caputo further states, "Ciavarella and Conahan kept track of the number of children sent to the facility and how PACC was doing financially. Ciavarella continued to monitor the profitability of PACC until 2008. Ciavarella's role in closing the River Street facility set the conspiracy in motion. Thus, the undisputed material facts establish that Ciavarella knew, or he should have known, that his role in the closure of the River Street facility and his concealment of his interest in its closure (and the resulting opening of the PACC facility while he served as judge of the juvenile court) would deprive Plaintiffs of an impartial tribunal."

The court's finding that Ciavarella's enactment of zero tolerance policies falls outside the scope of judicial immunity is especially significant. It follows by one day the announcement of new guidelines and recommendations by the United States Departments of Justice and Education to roll-back zero tolerance policies that have created a school to prison pipeline and mete out discipline disproportionately to students of color. The decision should put other judges on notice of their potential liability for participating in the enactment of policies that interfere with children's rights or undermine key principles of our justice system. 

"Of the 2500 children who appeared before Ciavarella between 2003-2008, the duration of this illegal conspiracy, a substantial number of them were referred by the schools in Luzerne County," noted Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of Juvenile Law Center and co-counsel for plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "Luzerne County exposed the dark side of zero tolerance policies, resulting in the loss of key educational opportunities for too many children who still struggle today to get their lives back on track. With this decision and the new federal guidelines, we have new tools to return school discipline to the principal's office, rather than the courtroom."

Juvenile Law Center is the oldest national, non-profit, public interest law firm to advance and protect the rights and well-being of children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Juvenile Law Center is also a resource for other legal advocacy groups across the nation.  For more information, please call Marie Yeager at 717-817-3333 or to read the full opinion visit www.jlc.org.

SOURCE Juvenile Law Center

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ...
With IoT exploding, massive data will transform businesses with opportunities to monetize almost anything that can be measured. In this C-Level Roundtable Discussion at @ThingsExpo, Brendan O’Brien, Aria Systems Co-founder and Chief Evangelist, will lead an expert panel of consultants, thought leaders and practitioners who will look at these new monetization trends, discuss the implications, and detail lessons learned from their collective experience. Finally, the panel will point the way forw...
How do you securely enable access to your applications in AWS without exposing any attack surfaces? The answer is usually very complicated because application environments morph over time in response to growing requirements from your employee base, your partners and your customers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Haseeb Budhani, CEO and Co-founder of Soha, will share five common approaches that DevOps teams follow to secure access to applications deployed in AWS, Azure, etc., and the frict...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies, a global technology solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a leader in application performance and infrastructure management for commercial and federal markets. The company is headquartered in the United States, with a diverse and talented team of more than 350 employees around th...
ProfitBricks has launched its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks has also introduced several libraries that enable developers to use their favorite language to code ...
SYS-CON Media announced today that John Treadway’s blog has exceeded 475,000 page views. John Treadway, Vice President at Cloud Technology Partners, has surpassed 475,000 page views on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, Microservices Journal, and several others. His blog home page at SYS-CON can be found at JohnTreadway.SYS-CON.com.
SYS-CON Media announced today that Blue Box as launched a popular blog feed on Cloud Computing Journal. Cloud Computing Journal aims to help open the eyes of Enterprise IT professionals to the economics and strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Blue Box Cloud gives you unequaled agility, without the burden of designing, deploying and managing your own infrastructure. It’s the right choice when public cloud just won’t do. Blue Box Cloud is a managed Private Cloud as a Service (...
SOASTA, the leader in performance analytics, today reported record growth of the CloudTest community, exceeding 30,000 registered users of the CloudTest platform in Q1 2015. SOASTA also announced widespread adoption of its Web and mobile testing solutions, with more than 1,600 customers completing more than 285,000 tests using CloudTest during the quarter. This rapid growth shows that DevOps-driven digital businesses are embracing a more continuous approach to testing, and CloudTest is meeting t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will mee...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BroadSoft, the leading global provider of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) services to operators worldwide, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol networks. The Compa...
VoxImplant has announced full WebRTC support in the newest versions of its Android SDK and iOS SDK. The updated SDKs, which enable audio and video calls on mobile devices, are now compatible with the WebRTC standard to allow any mobile app to communicate with WebRTC-enabled browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and, when available, Microsoft Spartan. The WebRTC-updated SDKs represent VoxImplant's continued leadership in simplifying the development of real-time communication...
Chef and Canonical announced a partnership to integrate and distribute Chef with Ubuntu. Canonical is integrating the Chef automation platform with Canonical's Machine-As-A-Service (MAAS), enabling users to automate the provisioning, configuration and deployment of bare metal compute resources in the data center. Canonical is packaging Chef 12 server in upcoming distributions of its Ubuntu open source operating system and will provide commercial support for Chef within its user base.
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquir...