In today's Citizens Voice Michael Sisak writes a great piece about the silence out of the Luzerne County DA's Office over the juvenile detention center scam. The only problem I see with his piece is why he and the media did not ask questions sooner.
Take a look at my post from January 26, 2009 titled "DA Jackie Musto Carroll- Lets Ask You A Question". My post asked the questions at the time of the arrests. Here is a repost.
The Juvenile Law Center released a press release on April 28, 2008 that stated "Luzerne County is Worst Violator of Youth Civil Rights- Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia-based public interest law firm, filed a petition to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today requesting immediate, emergency relief on behalf of Luzerne County youth who have been the subject of delinquency hearings without counsel since October 1, 2005 when Pennsylvania adopted the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure."
The Center issued another press release on June 17,2008 titled "JLC Petitions PA Supreme Court for Extraordinary Relief for Hundreds of Youth Tried Without the Benefit of Lawyers". In the body of the release it states "The Luzerne County District Attorney and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) filed briefs on behalf of the Juvenile Court urging the Supreme Court not to take jurisdiction. JLC filed a response."
A second request was placed before the Supreme Court by the Juvenile Law Center in December. DA Musto-Carroll filed a brief against the Juvenile Law Center's efforts.
DA Musto-Carroll's argument to the court contained the following statement "The Petitioners have not shown that the issue is of such immediate public importance that extraordinary jurisdiction is required. Nor have the Petitioners clearly demonstrate that their rights have been violated. In addition the Petitioners allegations regarding other juveniles who may be similarly situated have not shown that such individuals even exist."
On page 14 of the indictment against Ciavarella and Conahan it reads "It was further a part of the scheme and artifice to defraud that, on numerous occassions, accused juvenile offenders were ordered detained by the defendant Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. even when Juvenile Probation Officers did not recommend detention. The defendant Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr., at others operating at his behest, also exherted pressure on staff of the Court of Common Pleas to recommend detention of juvenile offenders. On some occassions, probation officers were pressured to change recommendations of release to recommendations of detention.
Tom Corbett, Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania supported the Juvenile Law Center's efforts to secure Supreme Court review. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare filed a similar brief supporting a Supreme Court review. Yet, DA Musto-Carroll chose otherwise.
In today's press conference DA Musto-Carroll isquoted as saying "I think this is the beginning of the end of the darkest days of our county. We can look at this as a bright spot that things have been turned around and no longer will these sorts of things be tolerated."
Her brief filed in opposition to the Juvenile Law Center demonstrates an acute ignorance of the investigation going on around her. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear children's complaints of massive rights violations in Luzerne County demands public outrage at the arrogance of the court in light of this indictment.
DA Musto-Carroll- Were you not aware of an investigation into PA ChildCare to the extent that you foiled attempts to protect children from long range mental problems over injustice?
From the press release of U.S. Attorney Martin Carlson dated January 26, 2009 at the bottom of page 4- "Mr. Carlson further noted that Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Carroll worked closely with federal investigators and the United States Attorney's Office in assisting in the investigation." It is hard to comprehend how DA Carroll could write a brief in opposition knowing the facts she must have known given that statement.
Her statments in today's Citizen's Voice article. “Nobody knew the judge was committing any crimes at the time,” Musto Carroll said. “The judge was considered a zero-tolerance, very strict sentencing judge. There was nothing to indicate the judge was doing anything out of the ordinary.”...“We now know what was happening in Judge Ciavarella’s courtroom and our office is committed to seeing that justice is served,” Musto Carroll said.
I asked similar questions on January 27, 2009 of Judge Lupas when he was District Attorney.