The trial starts today for former PA juvenile judge, Mark Ciavarella Jr., on a 39-count indictment on allegations of collusion and getting kickbacks from two for-profit detention centers.

He had also been accused of failing to tell juvenile defendants that they had a right to an attorney and of sentencing them to jail for minor offenses to keep the detention centers 'full.'

Ciavarella's pre-trial testimony was given while he thought he had plea deal for a 7.5 year prison term.  Three weeks later a U.S. District Judge rejected the deal.  With no plea agreement, the prior testimony will carry a much different weight.

Ciavarella resigned in January 2009. Previously, state officials had asked him about the county's abnormally high detention rates for juveniles, rates that have been reported to be twice the state average. Ciaverella has also been named the defendant in a number of civil lawsuits brought by some of the juveniles who had appeared in his courtroom.

For the complete article from, click here.
"Former judge Ciavarell's trial begins Monday" by Michael Sisak