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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mark Ciavarella

Accused former Luzerne County judge Mark Ciavarella is on trial for, among other things, getting kick-backs after sending kids to privately run jails.  I'm not going to bother to link to any stories on this whole mess, as there is a ton readily available.  Just google "kids for cash".  Anyway, the prosecution just rested its case in the trial, so now we get to hear the defense explain why "the Ciav" (pronounced "the Chiv" by the way) isn't a dirt-bag low-life who shouldn't spend the rest of his life rotting in a hole.

Oh, before I go any further, let's assume Mr Ciavarella is innocent until proven guilty (never mind that he previously tried to cop a plea in this case).  What I am going to postulate about are the basic facts of the case.

This case says a lot about our society and its single biggest love: money.  That reminds me of a quote from Bob Dylan, who once said "money doesn't talk, it swears".  Mr Zimmerman was absolutely right, and this case proves it, in spades no less.

Ponder what is going on here:  this man is accused of sending children to jail, for seemingly minor offenses, in order to line his pockets.  You are a 13 year old boy who does something stupid, hangs out with the wrong crowd, makes the seeming mistake of your life.  I'm not saying you are perfect, but you are not John Dillinger either.  Anyway, your life is forever changed by virtue of the fact that a judge sent you to jail...not to rehabilitate you...not to even punish you...but rather to enrich himself.  

It gets better.  The prosecution in this case has basically relied on tax evasion as a central element in their case.  There have been no children testifying as to how going to jail for something stupid has negatively impacted their lives.  There has been no testimony from devastated parents who saw their children degrade as a result of punishment that did not fit the crime.

No, this case is about money.  Dirty money.  I suppose justice will be served in this case, but the whole sordid affair leaves a dirty taste in my mouth.

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