Lawyer defends Pa. Judicial Conduct Board

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2009 8:09 PM

The senior counsel for the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board says the board acted properly when it referred allegations against two Luzerne County judges to federal prosecutors.

By not taking action on its own, the board allowed Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) and Michael Conahan to remain on the Luzerne County bench for two years. Board senior counsel Joseph Massa told a state panel investigating the kids-for-cash scandal it's "a disgrace" to allege that board members ignored the allegations. The two former judges face federal racketeering charges for allegedly accepting payoffs from two private juvenile detention centers.

The Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice is holding hearings near Wilkes-Barre investigate the scandal and recommend measures to prevent similar situations.