Another “Cash-for-Kids” Judge Sentenced to 17.5 years in prison

Last Friday, former Pennsylvania juvenile judge Michael Conahan was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison for sending teenagers to youth detention facilities in exchange for kickbacks from the detention center builder.

Conahan picture

ABA Journal has more:

Former President Judge Michael Conahan, 59, was sentenced Friday, report the Legal Intelligencer and the Associated Press. He also was ordered to pay $874,000 in restitution, the Legal Intelligencer says.

He pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy in 2010 in connection with allegations that he accepted kickbacks in exchange for jailing juveniles in a private detention facility.

Another Pennsylvania judge, Mark Ciavarella, was convicted on 12 counts of money laundering and conspiracy in February. In August, he received a 28 year prison sentence.

Edward Kenzakowski, a teenager who committed suicide after being sentenced by Ciavarella, represents one of the many victims of Conahan and Ciavarella’s crimes:

Fonzo’s son, Edward Kenzakowski, was a 17-year-old all-star wrestler with no prior record when he landed in Ciavarella’s courtroom for possession of drug paraphernalia. She said her son never recovered from the months he served at the detention centers and a wilderness camp.

Tears streaming down her face, Fonzo said she couldn’t believe Ciavarella was allowed to walk out of the courthouse.

“There’s no justice, there’s not. He’s never going to get what he deserves,” she said. “I just wanted to see him handcuffed and taken out. But when I saw him just being released with that stupid smirk on his face …”

Alex Hunt

About Alex Hunt

Alex Hunt is a former Yale & Irene Rosenberg Graduate Fellow at the Center for Children, Law & Policy. Alex graduated from the University of Texas in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in government. Before entering law school, he taught middle school math at YES Prep Southwest in Houston with Teach For America. In 2010, he received New Leaders' EPIC Spotlight Teacher Award, a national award for teachers with outstanding student growth. Alex graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in May 2013. During law school, Alex was Casenotes & Comments Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, interned for both state and federal judges, and served as Vice President of the Health Law Organization (HLO). In addition, Alex has received the Irving J. Weiner Memorial Scholarship Award (for a year of outstanding work in the UH Law Center Legal Clinic), the Napoleon Beazley Defender Award (for outstanding work on behalf of children), the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award, the Mont P. Hoyt Memorial Writing Award for an Outstanding Comment on a Topic in International Law, and he was a finalist for Texas Access to Justice's Law Student Pro Bono Award. Alex is currently in private family law practice with the Hunt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Katy, Texas.

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