Corrupt Judges Sentenced Teens for Dough

Hillary Transue, 17, of Wilkes-Barre, PA, knew something was wrong when she was sentenced to three months in juvenile detention for making fun of her assistant principal on MySpace in 2007. “I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” Transue said. Now federal prosecutors say that Transue's Kafkaesque ordeal was part of a vast kickback scheme between two judges, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan, and two privately run youth detention centers, who paid off the courts in order to secure lucrative subsidies for taking in more teens. The accused judges pleaded guilty yesterday and will get a taste of their own medicine with 87 months in prison. Now officials are trying to figure out what to do with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who were sentenced by Ciavarella from 2003 on, when the scam began, some of whom are still in detention centers.