Two Judges Face Class Action Over Juvenile Detention Corruption
Families and loved ones of juveniles who suffered civil rights violations may have their day in court. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan alleging that the 2 men, and other parties named in the suit, acted "under the cloak of the court," to wilfully and knowingly deprive young defendants who appeared in Luzerne County juvenile court of their civil rights.
The lead plaintiff in the suit, Florence Wallace, will represent her 15 year old daughter and all children who allegedly suffered civil rights violations under the authority of Judges Conahan and Ciavarella between 2003 and May 2008.
Additionally, the suit claims that the judges engaged in racketeering activity involving in a scheme to raise millions of dollars to build 2 juvenile detention centers.
Hundreds of children in Pennsylvania and their families allegedly had their civil rights violated through actions attributable to the 2 judges.
Other defendants named in the suit are:
Attorney Robert J. Powell, a former co-owner of the juvenile facilities
Powell Law Group, P.C., Powell's Drums-based law firm
Pa. Child Care LLC and Western Pa. Child Care LLC, the companies that own the facilities
Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp., the company that operates the facilities
Robert K. Mericle and Mericle Construction Inc., the developers of the centers
Gregory Zappala, the other co-owner of the juvenile centers
Pinnacle Group of Jupiter LLC, a firm operated by Ciavarella and Conahan
Beverage Marketing of Pa. Inc., a firm operated by Conahan
Vision Holdings LLC, a firm operated by Powell
Barbara Conahan and Cindy Ciavarella, the judges' wives
An attorney listed as "Joe Doe"