Monday, February 21, 2011

Reality Vs. Rhetoric

To all those who claimed there was hate-filled rage on the Republican right.
Evidently the extreme liberals don't take a back seat.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Did The Jury Send The Wrong Message In Ciavarella's Conviction?

Before I get into Ciavarella's conviction one must take a good hard look at the picture of a mother who lost her son as a result of circumstances that started in Ciavarella's courtroom. Look at the pain captured so well in her eyes and expression by the Times Leader photography department.

For the Ciavarella family and Attorney Al Flora to claim "victory" was the ultimate slap of hypocrisy and flamboyant attitude displayed during the entire trial. His smirks, his smiles, and general demeanor where disgusting to see regardless of what he thinks he did or did not do. In the eyes of the public taking money, regardless of the charges, is something a JUDGE does not do. It doesn't just create distrust of the individual, it nutures and breeds distrust of the entire system and those working in it. Defense Attorney Al Flora's claim of "victory" will most likely be short lived when the civil cases are adjudicated.

Onto the jury. Today I read the breakdown chart in the Citizen's Voice. All of the charges involving actually money paid to Ciavarella were found NOT GUILTY. Their finding sends the wrong message to the public, but more importantly to public officials.

Mark Ciavarella can play that part that he was "duped" and "dragged into" this scheme by Robert Powell. However, according to his testimony he was up to his eyeballs in debt and saw an easy way out of the self proclaimed, excessive spending by himself and his family. He tried to keep up with the Jones but was no match.

I agree with their assertions that Ciavarella didn't "extort" money from Powell. It was an exclusive club where all shared in the profits. Attorney Al Flora exorted that Mark Ciavarella" never took a kickback, never took a bribe..." Well, Al, he did take over a million dollars, what was it a donation?

Taking money as a sitting Judge in the manner described in this matter has to be a crime of some sort, at least a kickback. Ciavvarella, in that video, stated he never took a kickback from Robert Mericle. Then why did he go to pains to try to hide it? If it wasn't a problem why didn't he claim it on his income taxes?

No one made the claim that each child sentenced resulted in a direct payment to Ciavarella. But to ignore the power of a judge to sentence enough children to a facility so that its revenue pays the bills is ludicrous. And to me, regardless of how the Ciavarellas feel, it was a kids for cash scheme- sentence the kids to keep the facility afloat and make money.

The jury found Ciavarella guilty of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, consipracy to defraud the United States, and filing false tax returns. While those verdicts are enough to send Mark Ciavarella away for 13 to 15 years, it doesn't square up with the public.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hazleton Merchants Look For Help

Standard Speaker writer Jim Dino covered a meeting of the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Committee on Tuesday. MinSec quickly became a topic of those gathered to discuss the spat of crime including a recent double-murder in Hazleton.
You can read the article by clicking here.

What I found amazing was the listing by "homegal" in the comments section of all the inmates at MinSec who were involved in incidents during their stay there.

The following incidents, culled from Times Leader archives and media reports, have occurred since then:
Nov. 8, 2008: Convicted burglar James Reynaldo Mercado, 21, escapes from MinSec.

July 30, 2009: Allen Fernandez is released from MinSec, picked up in Hazleton by members of a gang who drove him to Ransom Township, Lackawanna County, and shot him 12 times.

April 2, 2009: Jamie “Cuba” Torres-Dominguez absconds from MinSec.

April 12, 2009: Julio Cesar Gonzales absconds from MinSec and is shot by an alleged drug dealer outside Station 33 on Diamond Avenue, Hazleton.

June 6, 2009: Nelson Roberto Rodriguez walks away from MinSec.

Sept. 13, 2009: MinSec resident Richard Torres is arrested on charges of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Sept. 23, 2009: Convicted robber Nicholas A. Cusatis absconds from MinSec.

Sept. 29, 2009: MinSec resident William Tierno is charged with robbery.

Oct. 28, 2009: Tierno is charged with additional robberies.

Oct. 29, 2009: Media report that Tierno stated he was introduced to crack cocaine and was able to break curfew while a resident of MinSec.

Nov. 11, 2009: Cusatis is apprehended by the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Nov. 29, 2009: Russell Ryder walks away from MinSec.

Jan. 1, 2010: Ryder allegedly steals cigarettes from CeeBee’s, West Broad Street, Hazleton.

Jan. 9, 2010: Ryder allegedly smashes a window and steals cigarettes from Pantry Quik, Diamond Avenue, Hazleton.

Jan. 14, 2010: Former MinSec resident Norman Kane is charged with theft from Blockbuster Video, Hazleton.

March 12, 2010: MinSec resident Joseph Stephens, of Chambersburg, allegedly tries to steal an iPod speaker system from Boscov’s in Hazle Township.

March 16, 2010: Former MinSec resident Derrick Davidson, of Hazleton, allegedly throws a bag of urine at Hazleton police while in a holding cell after being arrested.

March 21, 2010: Marvin Brown escapes from MinSec through a back door after an argument with security about a cell phone.

March 23, 2010: MinSec walk-away Nelson Roberto Rodriguez allegedly stabs a man on Carleton Avenue, Hazleton.

April 2, 2010: Edward Eugene Hardy, previously convicted of aggravated assault, fails to return to MinSec.

April 3, 2010: Hardy is captured by police on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.

April 4, 2010: Torres-Dominguez, who absconded from MinSec a year ago, allegedly robs Craig’s Food Mart, Hazleton.

April 5, 2010: MinSec resident Jeffrey Wright allegedly robs M&T Bank, Hazleton.

April 6, 2010: Torres-Dominguez allegedly robs Dollar General, Hazleton.

April 6, 2010: Wright absconds from MinSec.

April 8, 2010: Torres-Dominguez allegedly robs Turkey Hill, Sugarloaf Township.

April 11, 2010: Torres-Dominguez allegedly robs Craig’s Food Mart, Hazleton, again.

April 14, 2010: Wright allegedly robs M&T Bank in Hazleton again.

April 2010: MinSec resident on work release at City Hall uses computer to download pornography.

May 2010: MinSec resident Luis Lozada-Colon is charged with stealing a CD player.

May 2010: Remus Marks, who failed to return to MinSec, is charged with causing a disturbance on North Bennett Court, Hazleton.

June 30, 2010: Convicted thief Sean M. Vought escapes from MinSec.

July 12, 2010: Sean M. Vought is captured by Lehighton police. State police said he fled there with his girlfriend, whom he met while at MinSec.

July 13, 2010 – Torres-Dominguez is captured.

Jan. 16, 2011: MinSec resident Rubin Correa is caught on videotape at First Presbyterian Church, right across the street, allegedly stealing a leather coat and rummaging through other clothing articles and drawers in the church during services.

Jan. 27, 2011: MinSec resident James Edward Heller allegedly robs bank in Pike County, leads police on high-speed chase back to Hazleton area.

Jan. 31, 2011: MinSec resident Charles Humphrey is charged with retail theft at Boscov’s, Hazle Township
This was posted today in the Times Leader. Thought it was worth a read to Hazleton people.