There isn’t much that shocks me when it comes to case fixing in Luzerne County or anywhere else in Pennsylvania for that matter but what has happened in the Mark Ciavarella trial defies any “legitimate” explanation. Here is what I said in my Judicial Corruption Blog before this trial began:

"It appears that even the FBI and US Attorney’s Office did not want to open this can of worms."

A public trial of this magnitude has huge ramifications. It has the potential to not only expose massive corruption that extends far beyond Luzerne County but more troubling massive cover up by sitting, “high profile” politicians and oversight organizations. The “Kids for Cash” scandal did not occur in a vacuum. 

I suspect that even the US Attorney’s office will attempt some sort of “damage control"...

Now let’s look at this so called, “Damage Control” that I spoke of.

Co-conspirator Michael Conahan was allowed (by the US Attorney) to plead guilty to a single count of wrong doing instead of facing the same 39 counts as recommended by a Federal Grand Jury. In exchange he would be required to testify in great detail against his buddy Ciavarella.  The same US Attorney’s office that worked this deal with Conahan never called him to the stand.  Well that’s a bit confusing...  or is it?

Here are two quotes and the link to an article published by the Citizens’ Voice Newspaper:

"Prosecutors offered virtually no evidence related to the most explosive allegations in a grand jury indictment, that Ciavarella boosted the centers' business by jailing undeserving juveniles on minor charges, denying many the right to counsel and pressuring juvenile probation officers to recommend detention in reports to the court.  The same article went on to further state:  Prosecutors declined comment Monday on their decision not to call former juvenile defendants or expected prosecution witness Sandra M. Brulo, a former juvenile court official facing prison for altering a court record in the case. Brulo, whose plea agreement required her to cooperate with prosecutors, told a state panel in 2009 that Ciavarella instituted a tough "zero tolerance" policy that swelled detentions just as one of the for-profit centers opened, replacing a government-owned center."

Read more: Citizen's Voice - Prosecution done - defense takes over 

Virtually NO EVIDENCE has been put on the record other than the crimes that Ciavarella has already admitted to.  The can of worms I spoke about earlier remains unopened.

Even if the jury thinks Ciavarella is the biggest liar that ever walked the face of the earth and finds him guilty on all charges he will escape most of them on appeal as no evidence was presented to substantiate most of the charges.  If the jury sets aside their emotions and follows the letter of the law, I predict that they will find Ciavarella “Not Guilty” on more than 50% of the crimes he was charged with and I feel my prediction is conservative.

So who is being protected and what is in this “can of worms?”  Well my list is long.  The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, Court of Judicial Discipline, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (The son of a retired Chief Justice owns the Juvenile Detention Facility at the heart of this matter) are just for starters.  My personal opinion is that what is in this can of worms is an entire system.  This “system” was on the verge of being exposed to the world.  A conscious decision by someone was made not to expose this can of worms no matter how bad it looked and I am here to tell you that it looks very, very bad.

In closing, what some of us call “damage control” others amongst us call “case fixing” and that’s what this prosecution was all about.  The problem here is that Ciavarella was the one charged.