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30 October 2009

PA Supreme Court Overturns Thousands Convictions By Judge Who Received $2.6 ...

via The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog by lois on 10/30/09

Pennsylvania Overturns Many Youths’ Convictions
By IAN URBINA - NY Times
Published: October 29, 2009

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday overturned thousands of juvenile-offender convictions handed down by a judge now charged in a corruption scandal.

The judge, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, and Michael T. Conahan, a fellow judge who for a time was the chief of that court, are charged with taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks from the owner of two privately run youth detention centers in exchange for their sending teenagers there.

The Supreme Court said the conviction of any juvenile who appeared before Judge Ciavarella after Jan. 1, 2003, was invalid. The justices barred the retrial of all but an estimated 100 of those cases.

The decision followed advice the court received from Arthur Grim, a Berks County judge whom it appointed in February to review juvenile cases involving Judges Ciavarella and Conahan.

Judge Ciavarella, who along with Judge Conahan awaits federal trial on charges of income-tax and wire fraud, routinely held juvenile hearings that lasted just minutes, failing to ask the youths before him whether they understood the consequences of waiving their right to a lawyer and pleading guilty.

“We concluded,” the justices wrote Thursday, “that the record supports Judge Grim’s determination that Ciavarella knew he was violating both the law and the procedural rules promulgated by this court applicable when adjudicating the merits of juvenile cases without the knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of counsel by the juveniles.”

Under the justices’ ruling, the only cases that will be eligible for retrial are those in which youths are still under court supervision. The district attorney’s office has been directed to notify Judge Grim of those cases it wishes to prosecute again. He will then make a determination on each case.
A version of this article appeared in print on October 30, 2009, on page A18 of the New York edition.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/us/30judges.html?_r=1&ref=us

Posted via email from jimuleda's posterous

You Are Not Where You Live

via Change.org's End Homelessness Blog by Shannon Moriarty on 10/29/09

You are not where you live.

This is the painfully-simple-but-so-important message writer Becky Blanton shared during a presentation for TED, an organization that shares "riveting talks by incredible people." Blanton began living in her van by choice. But one year after she began her adventure, she was broke, had fallen into the depths of depression, and felt homeless.

In the short video below, she talks about what she learned during just one year living in a van. She makes painfully important observations about homelessness, from the outside and the inside. Including three key lessons:

1. Society equates living in a permanent structure with our value.

2. The negative perceptions of others can easily impact our self-worth, if we allow it to.

3. Homelessness is an attitude, not a lifestyle.

Although I wouldn't classify Blanton as "homeless", I still found her testimony deeply moving. Partially because Blanton is such a riveting storyteller, but also because you can sense how deeply the experience impacted her.

Blanton had her identity as a writer and plenty of opportunities awaiting her at the end of her year on the streets. Many others are not as lucky.

Image: topleftpixel

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Cities bracing for State's early release of inmates

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

Robinson on Doing Justice as Controlling Crime

via CrimProf Blog by CrimProf BlogEditor on 10/30/09

Paul H. Robinson (University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted The Ongoing Revolution in Punishment Theory: Doing Justice as Controlling Crime on SSRN. Here is the abstract: This lecture offers a broad review of current punishment theory debates and the...

Posted via email from Southwestern PA Re-Entry Coalition

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