Some Convictions Against Former Judge Ciavarella Vacated

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LUZERNE COUNTY -- Several convictions against disgraced former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella have been vacated by a federal judge, possibly clearing the way for a new trial on those counts.

When Ciavarella was sentenced in federal court for his role in the "kids for cash" case in 2011, his lawyers called the 28-year term a life sentence for the 61-year-old ex-judge.

A new trial could mean Ciavarella could have years taken off his sentence if found not guilty.

At his trial in February 2011, a jury convicted Ciavarella of 12 criminal counts. Three of the most serious convictions were for racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and money laundering, but a judge in Harrisburg vacated the convictions on those three counts.

The judge found Ciavarella's lawyers should have raised a statute of limitations defense claiming kickbacks were paid to Ciavarella more than five years before he was charged.

The judge also found fault with the judge's instructions to the jury.

The nine other convictions against Ciavarella still stand including mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and failing to pay taxes.

What remains unanswered is how many years could be knocked off Ciavarella's sentence if he is acquitted on these three felonies when he gets his new trial.

No date has been set.

Ciavarella is currently locked up at a federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky.

Ciavarella still has 20 years to serve on his initial sentence, and he was convicted of nine other crimes. But most of those were lesser crimes that carried sentences from six months to three years.

Ciavarella petitioned the court for a new trial last year.

Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of fraud and money laundering in connection with the "Kids for Cash" scandal involving Luzerne County's juvenile detention center. The former judge claims his defense lawyers did not do their jobs and that prosecutors did not disclose important evidence in the case.

Former Luzerne County Judge Michael Conahan took a plea deal and got a lesser sentence, but Ciavarella maintained his innocence right through the guilty verdict.


  • Vet Check

    This is one of the dangers of having so much legal power. The power to ruin people’s lives is apparently intoxicating for MANY of these very, very disordered people. All it takes to become a judge is finishing Law School, passing the Bar Exam, and political graft.

    And who can the public trust to oversee these creatures? OTHER judges? Not only has this walking gob of human phelgm destroyed lives, he has cost taxpayers OODLES of money in trial costs and incarcerations. There can be no punishment severe enough for this kind of corruption.

  • Archie Beal

    That fonzo whacko that keeps chirping how civarella caused her kid to kill himself. Civarella did not kill him. More like the kid was a heroin junkie facing state prison for allegeded crimes as an adult. How about telling the whole story fonzo

  • Canyon

    Q: How many trials is a white collar convicted felon entitled to?
    A: As many as it takes till they find him innocent!

  • M. Smith

    100% agree. Who is the judge overseeing this case? Lackawanna County is no better. Just had a dealing with a judge regarding a “squatter” tenant, and he went against the rules for appealing a magistrate’s ruling. She went three months paying no rent and he allowed her to appeal!!!! Talk about a joke.

    • silverfishimperetrix

      Sorry. Ciavarella’s a DEMOCRAT, as is Conahan, Mericle, Powell and everybody else involved in this travesty. Keep voting ‘D’ for your children’s future. LOL

    • Marc G.

      NOPE! NEPA is the land of perpetual Democrat corruption. One of the few small, shameful bits of PA that wasn’t red last election, along with the other hotbeds of failed Democrat policy, Philly and Pittsburgh.

  • Teddy

    Hey why not, after all they gave sandusky his 350k a year state pension, and his wife is living in the lap of luxury while she lied for him, same with mellow.

  • Archie Beal

    It was wrong he profited from those kids…but those kids he locked up were no angels…look at their records the majority were in front of him numerous times and deserved getting locked up.

    • Givemeabreak

      Actually it was determined that those kids didn’t deserve to get locked up, that’s why he went to jail.

      • WAYNE S

        Beal really! the look the other way mentality and blame kids! This train of thought is a cancer to Pennsylvania and it ruined the national reputation of the state. do not be a part of that ideology. If PA was a company it would have the worst corporate culture in the world.

    • Vet Check

      Achie Beal you are, indeed, certifiable and I don’t know why your ‘tard-guards allow you access to anything more complicated than a spoon.

      Kids make mistakes. Sometimes, they make BIG mistakes. But, what this judge did was against all protocol and NOT supported by Juvenile Law, you weeping, under-medicated, mindless git. Now, you go back to your padded room with your warm white snuggie and think about how the Real World works.

  • John D. Ward

    Sad that the Assistant District Attorney, Luzerne County 2004-2008 who was in the court room as well didn’t help the kids that were hurt buy this man and is still practicing law in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

  • Bill

    Terrible. And kids and custody for cash still thrives while people like Brenda Kobal exist as GALs you are true criminals

  • e

    This is horrible news. That man should be locked up for life. The situations he created for children are nothing less than child abuse. He deserves to spend every minute of the original sentence he received.

    • George Arce

      I know right. We are and have always been in a sort of feudal system, its the cleverness of its concealment, the only difference between the current system and the medieval one.

  • Robert J Mills

    Let those federal judges sons and daughters endure part of the punishment this clown made up so he could become rich. This is ridiculous. Lock him up for life.

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