(CNN) — A former Pennsylvania juvenile judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison Thursday after being convicted for a scheme to make millions off unjustly incarcerating young people, court officials said.
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was also ordered by a federal judge in Pennsylvania to pay about $1 million in restitution. The sentence was four times the 87 months sentence that Ciavarella and federal prosecutors had agreed to when he pleaded guilty to charges in 2009.
But that plea deal was thrown out by a federal judge and the case went to trial.
Ciavarella was found guilty in February of 12 of 39 racketeering and fraud charges for accepting millions of dollars in bribes from friends who owned detention centers to which he sent juveniles. The case made national headlines when Ciavarella was confronted by a distraught mother outside a courtroom after his conviction.
Sandy Fonzo’s 17-year-old son, Edward Kenzakowski, spent six months in a detention center after Ciavarella sentenced him for possession of drug paraphernalia. According to Fonzo, her son, who had no prior record, was never able to recover and eventually took his own life. (more…)