President Judge Chester Muroski had these words to say yesterday
“I spoke up,” Muroski said. “I spoke up in 2005 and I complained that while I was running my juvenile court, which is a dependency court for abused and neglected children, I could not make placements, I could not provide services and I was $800,000 under budget and delinquency court was $2 million over budget.
“About three days after I sent that letter to the county commissioners, I was reassigned to criminal court and in my view the reassignment was done in order to silence me and further encourage me to, at that point in time, retire.”
During her trial in January, 2008 former Judge Ann Lokuta had these words of testimony.
"Lokuta had already testified that those judges yelled at her, failed to work with her, tried to sway her rulings and took cases away from her. She continued explaining that to the state Court of Judicial Discipline on Monday.
“It was a court which was spiraling out of control and I had absolutely no ability to stop that spiral,” she said."
A day after her testimony this information was published in the Times Leader.
"Newly retired Luzerne County Judge Michael Conahan will keep his entire staff at an annual cost of more than $173,000 once he begins working as a senior judge.
Four staff members will be assigned to him on a full-time basis – an arrangement President Judge Mark Ciavarella acknowledged is unique to Conahan. The other three senior judges who hear cases in the county share a staff of five, he said, including two tipstaff, two secretaries and one law clerk. The staffing was approved last week by the county Salary Board on the recommendation of Ciavarella."
During the proceedings of Novemeber 5, 2008 this testimony was noted of Judge Patrick O. Toole.
"One of them, former President Judge Patrick J. Toole, said he is not part of any conspiracy against Lokuta, never tried to sway her ruling in a case and never screamed at her via telephone and demand she always take his calls, as Lokuta has claimed he has done.
“I never attempted, in any way, to influence the outcome of any case she had,” Toole, leaning forward in the witness stand, boomed at Sinatra. “And I resented that (allegation).”
But Toole conceded that he, as president judge, told her to withhold her ruling in a case in order for a trio of judges to discuss the case. Toole admitted he disagreed with Lokuta’s ruling."
This story appeared in the Times Leader May 12, 2008.
"When her 14-year-old son was arrested three years ago, Tracy Stair said she planned to hire an attorney to represent him at his juvenile court hearing, but was stunned by the response of the lawyer she contacted.
“He told me it would be a waste of my time and money,” Stair said. “He would go if I wanted him to, but he wouldn’t be able to speak.”
Stair, 36, of Dorrance Township, said she couldn’t understand why an attorney would say such a thing – until the day she and her son appeared before Luzerne County President Judge Mark Ciavarella in juvenile court.
“We went before the judge and the hearing was over in 90 seconds,” she said. “He asks you a question. You answer it and it’s ‘book ’em. Get him out of here.’ The next thing I knew, he was sent away for three months.”
Here is Attorney Al Flora's statement last week.
“Second, the government has not charged a quid pro quo. The government does not allege that Judge Ciavarella received money in exchange for his sending children to the PA Child Care facility and that he led the payers of the money to believe that they would receive less favorable treatment from him, absent payment of the money.
“Third, Judge Ciavarella specifically denies that he sent any child to any juvenile facility because of money that he allegedly received from any person.
Information from the Indictment found on Page 3
"..Abused their positions and violated the fudiciary duty they owed to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to the Judiciary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by secretly deriving more than $2,600,000 in income, in addition to the compensation to which they were lawfully entitled, in exhange for official actions and anticipated official actions. The actions from which they dervived improper income included, but were not limited to, ...directing that juvenile offenderes be lodged at the juvenile detention facilities operated by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care;"