Thursday, September 24, 2009

Would You Retain Any Luzerne County Judge?

Two former Luzerne County judges currently face a 48-count federal indictment for bribery money laundering, racketeering as a result of the "kids for cash" scandal. They were paid $28 million, under the table, to steer kids convicted of minor offenses to for-profit detention centers.

While these defrocked judges file motions and try to claim judicial immunity from civil litigation, two other Luzerne County judges - Tom Burke and Peter Olszewski - seek retention. One of them actually spent some time in Florida at one of the disgraced judge's condos.

Based on the comments at Lu Lac, I'd say both of these judges should be in trouble. But my bet is they'll be retained. The deck is already stacked in their favor. They serve ten year terms, which should be enough to insulate them from unpopular decisions. Then, instead of facing an opponent, voters only decide whether to keep or reject them.

I do think we need to continue electing common pleas judges instead of going the appointment route, which simply takes the politics away from the people. But retention elections after ten year terms is a bit much. They should run for the seat.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Luzerne County is Dan Flood territory. Why would you expect anything less?

Between Luzerne and Lackawanna, there have been some real stars:

Flood, Joe McDade, Ernie Preate, Kanjorski, these judges. I'm sure I'm missing someone.

I'll take the dysfunction of the Lehigh Valley over the corruption of the coal crackers any day.

LVCI said...

This does little to alter my perceptions that there are two kinds of justice, one for the wealthy/influential and the other one for the rest of us.

A person trying to grease a traffic cop with a 20.. would likely see more punishment.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how deep the investigation will be allowed to go? Crimes involving moral turpitude usually end w/ the person involved. As an example, the guy in Monroe Cty. who either was a judge or was a judge-elect (I can't remember) who was discovered cozying up w/ a minor at a Hillary Duff concert. (Wonder what ever became of him?)

With corruption, the trail can run far and wide. Any large plaintiff verdicts awarded? Any pressured settlements? Love to see subpeonas for bank statements for lawyers' bank accounts where checks to clients were issued for their % of the award or settlement to see if there are any unaccounted for shortfalls.