Thursday, June 10, 2010

Eachus Playing Knight In Shining Armour Over Juveniles

The dog and pony show Representative Todd Eachus is playing over the juvenile justice mess in Luzerne County is approaching the nauseating level. In today's Standard Speaker, his personal PR publication, Robert Swift writes about his latest attempt to placate the public by introducing two bills in the House aimed at juvenile justice reform.

Two initial bills to put the recommendations of the state commission investigating the Luzerne County courthouse scandal into effect were introduced Wednesday by House Majority Leader Todd Eachus.

One bill would create a $500,000 state fund to provide restitution payments to Luzerne County residents who didn't receive any court-ordered restitution because of state Supreme Court orders vacating convictions of juvenile offenders sentenced wrongly by two former judges to a privately run juvenile detention facility. When the convictions were vacated, the restitution awards were vacated, too.

The restitution measure by Eachus, D-116, Hazleton, provides for a court-appointed master to develop a system to determine the amount of restitution owed to a victim and distribute the funds accordingly.

"Because the Supreme Court vacated the rulings in Luzerne County related to the 'kids for cash' corruption scandal, many of the victims of those juvenile crimes have been deprived restitution for damages," Eachus said. "We must ensure that the victims of juvenile crime receive justice."

A second bill would expand the jurisdiction of the state Office of Victim Advocate to include victims of juvenile crime. This office was created in the 1990s so the interests of victims of crimes committed by adult offenders would be represented in court proceedings.

According to a savy lawyer you cannot have restitution in dismissed cases. If you read this website it appears that restitution must be tied to a conviction. This case appears to support that statement. There are victim advocates already assigned to the juvenile victims so it is hard to see the need to create state advocacy.

So the Knight in Shining Armour has once again created an issue so he appears to have solved it. Mr. Eachus has been asked repeatedly to explain his true relationship with Robert Powell, admitted felon, with respect to his efforts to secure funding for his proposed cargo airport. There has been no meaningful response.

In an interview on SamSon TV-13 with Kristen Buczynski Todd Eachus made these remarks about the juvenile scandal.

"Well in Luzerne County we have a particular place in this scandal, don't we? Our courthouse has been an embarrassment. We have juveniles in our county that have been wronged by the justice system. That needed to be righted.

In April, 2009 Senator Lisa Baker was attacking juvenile justice reform in Pennsylvania according to this release from Models for Change. Senate Bill 949 of 2009 was introduced by Senator Lisa Baker from Luzerne County on June 9, 2009. Sponsors: BAKER, PILEGGI, WASHINGTON, ERICKSON, GORDNER, ALLOWAY, MUSTO, KITCHEN, FERLO, O'PAKE, FONTANA, FARNESE, WARD, EARLL, BROWNE and ARGALL

Eachus introduced his bill on June 10, 2009 according to the state's legislative website. He was a day late and a dollar short.

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