Friday, July 31, 2009

Conahan and Ciavarella Guilty Pleas Rejected by Court

According to a press release issued today by Hank Grezlak and Leo Strupczewski of the Legal Intelligencer, on July 30, 2009, Judge Edwin Kosik, the Pennsylvania Middle District Federal Court Judge overseeing the criminal proceedings involving former Luzerne County Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr., issued an Order rejecting the guilty pleas that were entered into by the Judges back in February, 2009. Those guilty pleas called for the Judges to serve 87 months in prison.

In his Order, Judge Kosik stated that he could not accept the plea agreements in light of the judges’ post-guilty plea conduct and statements which seemed to contradict their admissions of guilt to certain crimes charged.

In his Order, Judge Kosik noted that a hearing would be scheduled, during which the U.S. Attorney or Conahan or Ciavarella will have the opportunity to either withdraw their guilty pleas, or accept a potentially stiffer sentence from Kosik. In addition, Kosik said the parties had ten days to waive the hearing in writing.

Judge Kosik's Order can be found online at http://media.timesleader.com/documents/kosik.pdf.

For more articles on the Luzerne County Judicial Scandal you can visit the archives in the websites of some of the local newspapers. Check out www.timesleader.com and click on their link for "County Judges." Another site is www.citizensvoice.com, where you can click on their link for "Corruption Probe."

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