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Student Satirist Gets 3 Months; the Judge, Likely More 689

Posted by timothy
from the but-everyone-else-in-pa-is-clean dept.
ponraul writes "When Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, sentenced Hillary Transue, 17, on a harassment charge stemming from a MySpace parody of her high school's assistant principal, Hillary expected to be let off with a stern lecture; instead, the Wilkes-Barre, PA area teen got three months in a commercially operated juvenile detention center. In a reversal of fortune, Ciavarella and his colleague, Judge Conahan, 56, find themselves trying to plea-bargain an 87-month sentence in Federal correctional facilities relating to a kick-back scheme that netted the pair $2.6 Million and PA Child Care 5000 inmates." True poetic justice would be for these corrupt, callous judges to serve their sentences in the same kind of environment to which they were happy to dispatch juvenile defendants.
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Student Satirist Gets 3 Months; the Judge, Likely More

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  • by wjh31 (1372867) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:24AM (#26886805) Homepage
    im suprised myspace isnt filtered in china
    • And apparently 3 for you for a humourous (and sad) comparison.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:07AM (#26887717) Journal

      Don't buy it. You can't really "satire" your high school principle; they're unlikely to meet the "public figure" criteria that would protect the person who is making fun of them from legal repercussions if anything strayed over the line.

      That being said, the sentence in this case was wildly inappropriate. The page could never have been mistaken for real libel due to the inclusion of text explicitly stating that the page is a joke. On top of that, jail time? For a juvenile?

      Amusingly, it's high profile, geek-enraging cases like this that probably got him caught. If he'd kept sending kids to juvy for misdemeanors, it wouldn't have been covered so widely, and we wouldn't have given a damn.

      • by mgiuca (1040724) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:30AM (#26888219)

        Don't buy it. You can't really "satire" your high school principle; they're unlikely to meet the "public figure" criteria that would protect the person who is making fun of them from legal repercussions if anything strayed over the line.

        I doubt she was doing it for a public satire. Just an in-joke with her school.

        Maybe that doesn't hold up under the legal definition of satire, but that's what the social reasoning is behind creating a page like that.

      • by Gilmoure (18428) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:10PM (#26888951) Journal

        C'mon, binding/imprisoning people for profit?

        And they said slavery was dead.

      • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hoRASPtmail.com minus berry> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:49PM (#26889717) Homepage

        You can't really "satire" your high school principle; they're unlikely to meet the "public figure" criteria that would protect the person who is making fun of them from legal repercussions if anything strayed over the line.

        Really? A public-school principal works for the government, in a position of authority, and has broad discretionary power over the students under their charge. They are well-known in their community and frequently act as the public-face of their organization. Certainly, a high-school principal is not as famous as, say, Barrack Obama but it is quite arguable that he is a bona fide public figure for the purposes of satire.

      • by Dahamma (304068) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:09PM (#26891181)

        You can't really "satire" your high school principle; they're unlikely to meet the "public figure" criteria that would protect the person who is making fun of them from legal repercussions if anything strayed over the line.

        Of course the principal is a public figure - especially in the "world" of the high school students who were the intended audience of the satire.

      • The issue of whether somebody is a "public figure" affects libel lawsuits - if the principal were suing her, it might have some relevance.

        This is a criminal case - the principal was alleging "harassment" or some similarly bogus charge.

  • Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:26AM (#26886839)

    True poetic justice would be for these corrupt, callous judges to serve their sentences in the same kind of environment to which they were happy to dispatch juvenile defendants.

    Also operated on commercial grounds? Because the very concept of a commercial prison to me seems...something out of a really bad science fiction movie....

    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:32AM (#26886957)
      Then check this out: http://www.againstpuryear.org/ [againstpuryear.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sesshomaru (173381)

      Because the very concept of a commercial prison to me seems...something out of a really bad science fiction movie....

      Welcome to 21st Century America... get ready for a bumpy ride!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ShieldW0lf (601553)

        They corrupted the judgment system and left psychological scars on 5000 people, and they did it for profit.

        They should be executed. If they are not executed by the system, then they should be executed by the people, lynch mob style.

        • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by level4 (1002199) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:47AM (#26888537)

          And that will undo everything, will it? All those kids will be A-OK again?

          Capital punishment solves nothing, and just feeds the basest desire of humans for revenge.

          This is a terrible crime against society, I agree, and the punishment should be banishment. The system we have for that is called prison, and they should be going there for a very long time.

          While they're there, society should find a way to make sure that such a thing never happens again.

          This is the proper way to do things. Merely calling for the guilty parties' deaths is a simplistic, brutal way to conduct proceedings that should be nothing but a memory of the dark ages.

          • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:01PM (#26888775)

            I'd rather have them put down because they're expensive to keep and likely to perform similar crimes in the future. Plus, I'd be more inclined to accept your point of view if 87 months weren't a little over 7 years. Considering the life-changing impact that being a ward of the juvenile penal system has, 87 months is a tiny little sliver of their lives. In a perfect world they would have to spend the rest of their lives making restitution. I suppose being in with the adult criminals is as good as being in with the juvenile criminals, though. Either way they get to see what kind of culture they've exposed their "charges" to.

            In an ideal world perhaps every judge should spend a night a month observing a jail so that they understand better the environment to which they're sentencing people.

            • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:56PM (#26889837) Homepage

              I'd rather have them put down because they're expensive to keep and likely to perform similar crimes in the future.

              You should read some statistics. Turns out, between the appeals processes necessary to hopefully ensure you don't accidentally murder an innocent person, and the costs involved in actually killing them, it ends up costing *more* to execute someone than it does to just imprison them for life. And, as an added bonus, there's no take-backsies if it turns out you fucked up somewhere along the line.

              • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:21PM (#26890329)

                Oh, okay, well there goes that part of my argument. One could argue that there is no take-backsies if you fuck up and imprison someone for a good part of their natural life either, but that's immaterial, considering that my principal argument is about money. Due process is important to me too, so I can see your point.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                It only takes the cost of a few bullets if the execution is performed by the People. "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." -- Founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson, to James Madison, January 30, 1787. "And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that his people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Col

          • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by edbob (960004) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:04PM (#26888857)
            No, but it would act as an actual deterrent to future judges that might get similar ideas. The problem with capital punishment is that it is applied incorrectly to act as a deterrent. If someone thinks that the world would be better off without someone in it, one might think that it would be worth one's own life to rid the world of such a person. I doubt that many people would think that it would be worth risking their own lives to receive a kickback. Public officials need to be held to a higher standard. While I don't normally believe that the death penalty is effective, perhaps it should be used for public officials who abuse their authority.
          • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by zehaeva (1136559) <zehaeva+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:08PM (#26888927)
            you know that makes me think, why dont we do old fashion banishment anymore? just kick them out of the country "We'll send you to any country of your choice with just the clothes on your back, and you can never set foot here again on penalty of death(or whatever)"
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by doug (926)

            Capital punishment solves nothing, and just feeds the basest desire of humans for revenge.

            I thought it reduced the rate of recidivism and repeat offenders.

          • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rtechie (244489) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:21PM (#26890335)

            Capital punishment solves nothing, and just feeds the basest desire of humans for revenge.

            What is the point of prison? This is a philosophical question and the answer to this determines whether or not you think the death penalty is a bad idea.

            One view is that prisons are "banishment" as you describe. The purpose of prison is, in theory, to simply separate the criminal from the rest of society with the primary goal of protecting the society from the criminal. No attempt is made to change the criminal in any significant way. This is the European model.

            Another view is that prison is punishment. Criminals are intended to suffer while in prison. Society is protected by deterrence, knowing the punishment that faces them criminals will be less likely to offend or re-offend. In such as system corporal punishment, especially execution, is preferred because it has a dramatic impact and it's cheaper.

            The American system combines both aspects. Criminals are separated from society for very long periods in jails where they're tortured. We, as a society, have decided this is the way to go.

            There are numerous other theories. Prisons were originally designed around the concept of penance. A prisoner would be confined with the Bible and required to take religious instruction. It's assumed the prisoner will eventually repent their sins and adopt a virtuous life whereupon they are released.

            Now, if you don't believe that deterrence works on criminals (Either it works or it doesn't, you can't say that "fear of jail" works but "fear of death" doesn't) then you shouldn't support the death penalty because it won't deter criminals.

            This is completely separate from questions on the application of the death penalty. Namely that only extremely poor mostly non-white men are executed in the USA. These judges DO NOT meet that criteria, which is why they can't get the death penalty. Even if they committed mass murders on national TV.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            >>>Capital punishment solves nothing, and just feeds the basest desire of humans for revenge

            Yes. If I was victim of one of these corrupt judges and had to waste several months or years in the hell called "juvie", then yes I'd want my revenge. Death to the Tyrants. Same thing that People have done to kings and dictators for years. They deserve it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DuckDodgers (541817)
          I would support capital punishment as a deterrent, but statistically it doesn't actually deter anyone. So no matter how much we hate these people, it's a waste of time. Nothing we do, no matter how vicious, is going to give those 5000 people their time back. All the criminal justice system can do is keep criminals out of circulation, it can't undo the damage.

          From what I understand:
          • The judges involve get disbarred (cannot practice law again).
          • The judges lose their PA state pension for being convicted
    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#26887045) Homepage Journal

      Also operated on commercial grounds? Because the very concept of a commercial prison to me seems...something out of a really bad science fiction movie....

      It seems like something out of a particularly prescient sci-fi novel, to me.

      We the People of the United States have allowed our allegedly-elected representatives to reinstitute slavery.

      In any case, we already have slavery by proxy in this country, because we import literally tons of goods made with slave labor in China.

      If you think we did away with slavery in the USA, think again.

      As a related but not identical issue, disenfranchisement of felons means that you don't have to care how many of them you have - they can't vote, so even if you assumed that your vote counts, they would have been prevented from changing the system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fallingcow (213461)

      Stephenson's Snow Crash [wikipedia.org] had 'em in 1992. I'm sure he was far from the first.

    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:50AM (#26887333)

      The problem isn't that it was a commercially operated prison. The problem is that the payment structure was set up in such a way as to benefit the operator for an increased number of incarcerations. It shouldn't just be illegal, it should be unconstitutional for any contract or law to provide benefit to one party when another is found guilty of a crime.

      • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:12AM (#26887819) Homepage Journal

        The problem isn't that it was a commercially operated prison.

        It is the sole duty of the operators of a commercial prison to maximize revenue for the shareholders.

        That is at odds with the purpose of the law, which is (theoretically) to uphold justice.

        As long as there is money to be made from incarcerating people, you WILL have sentences that will send people to prison who should not be there. Corruption is inevitable when the incentive exists.

      • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Alinabi (464689) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:32AM (#26888253)

        The problem isn't that it was a commercially operated prison. The problem is that the payment structure was set up in such a way as to benefit the operator for an increased number of incarcerations

        How could you set up a commercially operated prison such that the operator would not benefit from an increased number of incarcerations?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Repton (60818)

          An idea I had:

          The government pays the prison a fixed fee per prisoner, based on the crime committed. The prison is free to do with the prisoner as they wish, including releasing them whenever they want. However, if the prisoner commits another crime within some specified period, the prison has to pay a large penalty fee.

          (all fees would be negotiated, or perhaps the prisons would specify them in their tender for the contract and the government would choose)

          The idea is that prisons have a financial incentiv

    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tiger4 (840741) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:56AM (#26887465)
      No, something out of the Eisenhower Administration. Yes Ike, the guy that lead the Allied Forces to victory over the Nazis.

      Back when he was President, the Office of Management and Budget first cam up with Circular A-76 [google.com]. It describes what is, and is not, an "inherently governmental activity". If it is inherently governmental, then an actual government employee must do it. Things like signing contracts, signing checks or handing out money, formally making arrests, sentencing convicts. But other than those kinds of things, a contractor can be used, since the work is essentially just administrative and not decision making. It is a bit of a slippery scale, and politics jumps in there too, but that is the basis for it.

      Usually A-76 is just used to decide if a US government agency should be closed, downsized and contracted out. But the flip side of it is that if an agency wants to expend, they can use it for justifying hiring a contractor to do the extra work. Ever since Reagan this has been the preferred way to do any sort of new work in the US government. The Iraq War took it to new levels, with paid contractors being deployed to do as much work as soldiers, marines, and airmen.

    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Codger (96717) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:14AM (#26887863)

      I have a relative serving time in a commercially-run prison. Besides this being a totally repugnant concept to begin with, the way the prison corporation profits off the inmates and their families is unreal. For example, inmate phone calls to family are charged at $16 per half hour. Inmates must buy their personal supplies through a commissary run by the corporation at horribly inflated prices. Luxury items like TVs or guitars, and school supplies must be purchased through a special catalog, again at inflated prices.

      You might say, "oh, they're criminals, they deserve to be soaked." But in reality it's the families who are being soaked, even though, in many cases, they are the victims of the inmate's crimes, or are suffering from lack of the inmate's income or parenting or whatever.

      It's a completely immoral way to make a buck. The owners and executives of these prison corporations are no better than the inmates they are incarcerating.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by akboss (823334)
        Wow are you behind the times. Corrections has always been looking for a way to shave a penny here and there. Inmates are routinely charged for incidentals like soap/toothpaste/toothbrush/etc. Commissary goods usually by law have to be sold at the prevailing rate that they are sold outside the walls. Luxury items like tv's...hmmmm when was the last time you saw a clear case TV? Radio? Of course they cost more. Where a privately run prison makes it money is 1)lower staff pay,2)no bennies for staff,3)streamlin
    • Re:Poetic justice? (Score:4, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:18AM (#26887947)
      Most states contract out almost all of their juvenile detention facilities to counties or private contractors. Very few states actually maintain centralized direct control over their juvenile justice facilities. I'm proud to say my state of South Carolina is among them (one of the few things we do right). In SC only a couple of wilderness camps and two small pre-trial detention facilities are not under direct control by the state. This has allowed the state to maintain a record of no juvenile escapes from long-term facilities for over 6 years and no allegations of abuse or lawsuits in any facilities since 2003 (very few juvenile justice systems in the country can claim a record of over five years without even an ALLEGATION of abuse or mistreatment).
      • No allegations? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pluther (647209) <pluther@u[ ]net ['sa.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:34AM (#26888307) Homepage

        Not even an allegation of abuse?

        That seems awfully unlikely. Even if none at all were going on, there are some kids who would claim it was, if for no better reason than to fuck with the administrators, or even just to get attention.

        And the percentage of kids who would make something like that up is probably higher among those that end up getting sent to a juvenile detention facility than among the general populace.

        To go five years without even a single accusation (even if it's proven false) makes me think that complaints are simply ignored and no records kept.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:26AM (#26886841)

    So do all the kids still have these marks on their records?

    If so then these judges did permanent damage to these individuals. The judges should be charged with much more serious crimes. One count for every person they fucked over. Judges especially need to be held to higher standards, put them in prison for life.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:42AM (#26887159)

      So do all the kids still have these marks on their records?

      Juvenile records are sealed when you reach the age of majority (18), and can neither be looked at (theoretically) nor used against you (again, theoretically) as an adult.

      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:52AM (#26887367) Homepage

        That's not really the point. All of these kids should have their convictions vacated, and the DA's office should determine which of them, if any, they want to re-try.

        The records may be sealed, but they still exist, and they can still be accessed in reality. Furthermore, the kids still have the feeling that they've been railroaded by the system. Doing the right thing here could at least give some of them the impression that the system is capable of doing more than unjustly imprisoning them. Carrying around a chip on their shoulder that the system is out to get them will greatly impact their direction in life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BigGar' (411008)

          While I agree that all the kids should have their convictions vacated & do not think it's a reasonable use of resources to retry any of them with the possible exception of a kid convicted of a violent crime who's sentence would be shortened by the vacating of the conviction. Pretty much all, if not all, of them should get a pass on this, the state had their shot & the state f'd it up through the corruption of the person presiding over the trial for personal gain.

      • by good soldier svejk (571730) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:19AM (#26887967)
        Unless your Mayor is Rudy Guilliani. He will take your sealed record and expose it on TV, claiming the cops had a right to murder you after you refused to sell them drugs, because when you were a kid you once got is a fight over $.25. Then he will say you are "no choirboy," [ontheissues.org] even though you in fact were a choirboy.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:21AM (#26888025)
        That's a myth. Most states got rid of those kinds of expurgation laws back in the 1980's. A felony conviction will still follow you, juvenile or not (unless you get some sort of gubernatorial pardon maybe).
    • by ThogScully (589935) <neilsd@neilschelly.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:53AM (#26887377) Homepage

      Putting them away for life just makes them a taxpayer burden. They aren't a threat to the public in any way. Instead, they should be punished appropriately. Obviously, disbarred, fined heavily since they likely aren't scraping for cash after all those kickbacks, lots of community service, loss of retirement/pension income, and a nice big felony record that will keep them from ever getting a decent job again.
      -N

      • by tixxit (1107127) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:08PM (#26888919)
        Prison is about more than just keeping threats away. They also act as deterrents for people not in prison, a source of retribution for the victims, and rehabilitation for the inmates. What he did was utterly despicable. The article said the average rate of sending youths to juvie was 1/10, and the judge was sending them at a rate of 2.5/10. That means approx. 3000 youths were sent to prison that should not have been. 3000 people had their lives affected by this. What's 3+ months of your childhood worth to you? Multiply that by 3000. The judges should be locked away for life.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Slippery (47854)

        They aren't a threat to the public in any way.

        No. This is collusion to commit kidnapping for profit.

        Someone with this little regard for the basic human rights of others is the worst threat to the public. They need to be forcibly segregated from the rest of us, in a place where they can receive whatever treatment is necessary to fix their broken brains, until such time as they are capable of treating their fellow humans with at least the minimum level of respect necessary to trust them to roam free among

  • No... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:26AM (#26886847) Homepage
    TRUE poetic justice would see them incarcerated in the juvenile detention facilities themselves, surrounded by the very kids they sent there.
    • But still, if it sticks, the judges go to prison, lose their job, their legal and judicial career, and their pensions.

    • Re:No... (Score:4, Funny)

      by MoeDrippins (769977) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:43AM (#26887165)

      TRUE poetic justice would see them incarcerated in the juvenile detention facilities themselves, surrounded by the very kids they sent there.

      ...with the kids reading poetry, preferably of Vogon origin, to them.

  • Recourse (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zaffir (546764)

    What sort of recourse does the girl have? Are there protections preventing her from suing for having three months of her life wasted?

  • justice business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowtah (566023) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:27AM (#26886877)
    That's what you get for setting up a privately-owned for-profit detention system.
  • worst scum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:28AM (#26886881)

    These two scumbags are in my state. And I'm in law school, so they also represent my profession. I've of course been following this story on the local media.

    They sent kids to privately owned and operated juvenile detention facilities in exchange for kickbacks. They ruined the lives of children for money.

    Hangings too good for 'em.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gr8_phk (621180)
      So is anyone going after the people at the corporation? Clearly they bribed a judge right?
  • Satire? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wmbetts (1306001)
    I didn't see the myspace page or know anything about that case, but he should have been disbarred for that ruling alone if it was strictly satire.
  • by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:31AM (#26886929) Homepage

    True poetic justice would be for these corrupt, callous judges to serve their sentences in the same kind of environment to which they were happy to dispatch juvenile defendants.

    I dunno, man. I'd imagine that being a former judge in a prison is right up there with being a former prosecutor. I wouldn't be surprised if they have to keep him on 24-hour isolation and/or suicide watch. He deserves much worse, but I suspect this will not be a cakewalk for him either.

  • Only 87 months? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pluther (647209) <pluther@u[ ]net ['sa.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:33AM (#26886975) Homepage

    1. PA Child Care should be shut down. If their business model depends on crooked judges, their business model is wrong.

    2. Now every single case that ended with juveniles sentenced there should be reviewed. (Looks like they're only looking at the one judge's 5000 cases. They need to look at all of them.) The former judge should be billed for all expenses.

    3. Whoever paid the bribes, and whoever authorized them, and whoever knew about this business model and kept quiet, also need to be tried.

    4. An appropriate punishment would be a month in jail for every month spent in the facility for every inmate he wrongfully sent there.

    5. No profit.

  • There is actually (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1@veri z o n .net> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:36AM (#26887023) Homepage
    A class action lawsuit being brought against the judges [standardspeaker.com]. Here is a link to the local paper, The Standard Speaker, about the pleas [standardspeaker.com].

    The judge has has his pension and pay terminated [standardspeaker.com]. I'm from around that area and it's actually big talk. If you search through the Standard Speaker site you'll see some comments from kids that were sent there.

    An AC says before if these marks are still on the records for the kids. Well why wouldn't they be? Just because the sentencing was wrong doesn't mean the crime wasn't committed.
    • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:42AM (#26887157)

      > Just because the sentencing was wrong doesn't mean the crime wasn't committed.

      You're making the assumption that even though the sentence was wrong, the judgement was not. You're assuming that a 'non-corrupt' judge would have also found them all guilty.

      • by mikesd81 (518581)
        The proper sentence in this case should have been an ARD program and probation. In PA ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition)will allow you to expunge your record if after probation if it's your first offense.
    • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:45AM (#26887225)

      An AC says before if these marks are still on the records for the kids. Well why wouldn't they be? Just because the sentencing was wrong doesn't mean the crime wasn't committed.

      At least in the case of Hillary Transue there was no crime, satire is constitutionally protect free speech. The judge was obviously making up crimes so he could sentence more kids to jail. Every one of the cases this judge had will have to be reviewed and retried, or if that's too expensive, they'll just have to expunge the records of everyone.

    • Re:There is actually (Score:4, Informative)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:54AM (#26887399)

      An AC says before if these marks are still on the records for the kids. Well why wouldn't they be? Just because the sentencing was wrong doesn't mean the crime wasn't committed.

      Yes but in these cases, a judge had the choice for leniency especially when the offender had no records. In the article, the judges sentenced juveniles to harsher penalties than even the prosecutors wanted in some cases. Satirizing your school principal shouldn't get you 90 days in a center. Getting into a fight at school was also 90 days. In both cases neither defendant had previous records.

  • by NoNeeeed (157503) <slash@@@paulleader...co...uk> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:44AM (#26887201) Homepage

    There are some things in this world that should never be run by private companies for the purposes of making a profit.

    Prisons are one of them. The idea that people can make a profit by locking people up is repugnant. Much in the same way that mercenary forces are generally a bad idea. The last people you want are those that *want* more war because that way they make more money.

    The profit incentive is fine in most cases, and generally I'm pro the free market, but there are some things we don't want to be encouraging.

    Paul

  • We are just one step from similar judges sending people to slave camps and another to a soylent green processing plant.

  • by wurble (1430179) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:47AM (#26887263)
    I will preface this by saying I don't know what charge they "convicted" the teenager of.

    1) Isn't satire completely protected under the first amendment, ESPECIALLY if it is explicitly stated that it is satire? The page she created had a disclaimer on it.

    2) The assistant principal is a public figure, and thus, under Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, can't even sue for emotional distress, let alone have someone convicted of a criminal offense.

    The sentence needs to be immediately overturned, the record expunged, and the family should have the right to sue at least the judge, if not the state.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:48AM (#26887297) Homepage

    Judicial corruption should get zero tolerance. For each of the 5000 kids sent to these private prisons for the profit of the judges, the judges should have an equal number of months to the kids' sentences removed from their lives. The punishment must fit the crime. Clearly, for the aggregate theft of life from children, these judges deserve death.

    What these judges have done, in terms of total injury to others, is far worse than a single murder. They have also undermined the faith of the public in the justice system. This faith can only be restored by reforms to the justice system so that punishments truly fit the harms caused by the crimes.

    Until we have a justice system in which men such as this face a sentence of death, we really don't have justice. Similarly, why is Bernie Madoff still walking around free? Steal $50 from a liquor store, go to jail. Steal $50 billion, and you're treated far better. And what about Dick Cheney? Our system is about punishing the poor and minorities in order to enforce a class system, not about really going after the psychopaths who are pushing our civilization over the edge.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by db32 (862117)
      Are you sure you really want the death penalty? You are advocating for a system where the government can execute its own citizens. How many trials are conducted almost soley in the court of public opinion these days through the use of the media? Do you understand how painfully easy it would be to start executing citizens in kangaroo courts while the populace cheers the delivery of justice due to biased media coverage? Not that I disagree with you on the core of the problem such as liquor store robber vs
  • by DikSeaCup (767041) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:55AM (#26887423) Homepage
    Non-NYTimes link:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008739323_judges13.html [nwsource.com]

    In case you hate being asked to log in to read an article.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:56AM (#26887463)

    commercially operated juvenile detention center

    A Mall?

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:24AM (#26888077)
    If satire and parody constitute harassment, shouldn't the entire cast and crew of Saturday Night Live be in jail now? Those guys even harass the President!

    Note to self: If you're going to make fun of someone on MySpace, do it under an alias. Like "Bill Gates" for instance.

  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:33AM (#26888275)

    This sort of thing happens all the time. I did a technology contract for "Servo-lift Eastern" who is a big vendor for the prison system.

    Privately run prisons are a big business in the U.S.A. Why do you think we imprison more of our population than any other western country? Because the good 'ol boys make money in jailing poor people who can't defend themselves.

    Hey, I understand politics. I don't expect human beings to be pillars of integrity, everyone is corrupt on some level. However, if you are willing to knowingly cause material harm to another human being for money, you need to die.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      Privately run prisons are a big business in the U.S.A. Why do you think we imprison more of our population than any other western country? Because the good 'ol boys make money in jailing poor people who can't defend themselves.

      Prison Labor [google.com] is big business

      As one of the snippets from Google's results says:
      "Prison labor is every US Corporation's dream: cheap labor, no sick leave, no time off, no holidays and employees that can be easily replaced ..."

      "Made In The USA" isn't always what its cracked up to be.

  • by wfstanle (1188751) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:48PM (#26890813)

    It's just a bad idea to have any for profit company running criminal justice operations such as prisons. I remember a story about one of the companies running many Texas prisons. The law forbids them from lobbying about laws increasing the penalties for crimes or making new criminal laws. Although they were prohibited from outright lobbying they were found to be using "back door" means to influence the state legislature. Some of the things they were doing is to form "community organizations" which they then funded heavily.

    The profit motive in criminal justice should just be eliminated. Criminal justice should be run entirely by the state. We should still have prisons just stop having private companies operate them.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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