Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: The Cash for Kids Scandal

Part One: The Cash for Kids Scandal

Tue, 25 Jan 2022 11:00

Robert is joined by Propaganda to discuss The Cash for Kids Scandal.



Join us on 2/17 for a live digital experience of Behind the Bastards (plus Q&A) featuring Robert Evans, Propaganda, & Sophie Lichterman. If you can't make it, the show will be available for replay until 2/24!


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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who's simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff, you should know you will. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What's sad, my all of you are about to be. I'm Robert Evans. This is behind the ******** podcast. Bad people tell you all about them. My guest today, Mr Jason Petty, AKA prop. What's up, man? Drop the government name and must go. I'm out here. That's how much I care about you. There are two people in the world that call me Jason. It's my wife and the lady named Jen Hatmaker. There's only two people on Earth that called me Jason. Robber for some. And now rob Jason. We can bleep your your legal name. That's all good. Do that. Don't worry about it. I'm scared. All that stuff has been expunged. Those those are mine. I was a miner, so you can't talk about the face of boy. That is appropriate for today's topic because, Oh my God. Prop. Today we're talking about a couple of aspects of the juvenile justice system that I think we're all gonna find super fun. Ohh, no. Real, real good time. I don't know. OK, go ahead. No, no, no. I mean, how do you how do you feel about kids? You know? Well, I love kids. I got two of them. I love the juvenile system. I've been a part of it. OK. My like, it works pretty well, yes. So, so there's a number of connections with this. My father was a SD PO2 for California, which is a a deputy probation officer for the juvenile system in Los Angeles. He retired from it, you know, because it's like, like we said before, can't change the system from within side. It just doesn't work. So, like, so he kind of bailed out, but he at least was like, at least I could be an advocate for it. For the time that I'm there and when some of y'all may know that I used to, I was a teacher before I was doing music and poetry full time, and I started off at my first teaching job was at central. What was the substitute position? But it was with all of the juvenile halls in California, so E Lake Correctional Facility, Camp, rocky camp, and football. So my first teaching experience was all in the juvenile, juvenile systems. So, like, I'm very connected to the. Or are you about to talk right now? And again, I was in the system. Yeah. And it's there's an anthropological theory I'm kind of fond of, which is the the idea that like, essentially all civilization and and by that I don't mean necessarily like skyscrapers and electric lights. Which is the idea of like, human beings organizing in groups to do things started because of the need to raise kids. Because, like, it is evolutionarily advantageous to have a big brain that allows you to make tools, but at a certain point. Our brains got so big that you you can't put you can't like just come out with a brain that big or you're gonna kill the person giving birth to you, right? Like you can only give birth to a brain so big. So we we started our kids started coming out younger and younger and less and less capable of of doing anything right. Like you, if you're there like the birthing of like a a calf or a a baby, they're fine. Or like a dog. Yeah, they could just like they're up and they're doing ****. 3 minutes. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty ******* quick in most cases. And like, by the time a human baby you have like a. A puppy and a baby at the same time. By the time that human baby can, like, kind of waddle, that dog will more or less be able to, like, hunt the dogs. Fine. Yes. Yeah. The dogs ready for the world. There's a whole premise in in my, my, my book, terraform, where I talk about the development of culture. And it's because we're the only species that aren't born with everything we need to survive. We had to create language. We had to create, you know, covers and stuff like that. Exactly what that thing is in one of the only things you like, you write in my zone. Right now, what are the only things that is universal in human civilization across every country and time? Was the idea of protecting our children. Yeah, I I would all universe, most that environmental. Yeah, human thing in the world. Like, I don't have kids. I don't ever want to have kids. Don't. But I still think I'm just kidding. Like it's every adult's ******* responsibility. If there's a if you can protect a child to protect the child. Like.. Like. And that's why the people were talking about today are such ******* nightmares. And they are human humans who have like fundamentally decided. But what if we did the opposite, bro for like money, bro racism and to get elected? I wish I could see my face right now, because like I said, we got two different stories this week for our first story today. Prop. What have you heard about the kids for cash scandal? I was also a high school teacher, so yes, I've heard of this. Yeah. It's not great. No. So to before we get into this, I think we need to talk a little bit about some relevant background. So violent crime in the United States almost quadrupled between 1960 and 1991 by 1995. Serious crimes, including including homicide, were all falling. So crime is by by 95 starting to drop again. Hmm. But right around the time crime was beginning its fall, that continued up until fairly recently, 24 hour news in the Internet really started to get going, and stories about violent crime and crimes directed against particularly white suburban people were hugely popular. You can make a lot of money in the bank, right? Yeah, and crimes committed by teenagers against particularly that demographic. Yes, we're like the easiest way to get ******* eyeballs on screen. Yes, I know. Yeah. I I am a child of the war on drugs, the gang injunctions. I am a child of all this. Yes. Yeah. Now, the problem was discussed through, obviously. The news and and and fictional media. But it was also something that academics talked about. And in November of 1995, a political scientist named John Dulio junior wrote an article for The Weekly Standard, which is a right wing Opinion magazine titled The Coming of the Super Predators. Oh my God, this article was based. Yeah, yeah, you got a lot of data y'all this person ruined my childhood. Yeah, ruined because of the work he about to talk about. Go ahead. Yeah, he, he dropped a bomb on. Yes. I don't know, a few million kids childhoods. Yeah, conservatively. The article that he wrote was based primarily on data from boys in Philadelphia that showed that 6% of of of young, like of minor male, male minors in Philadelphia accounted for more than half of the serious crimes committed by male children in that city. Now, as you might have guessed, #1, there's a number of reasons for this. This is just Philadelphia. There's a lot going on here. It's maybe not the best thing to draw. Broad, sweeping societal conclusions from, especially in a vacuum. Yeah, and as you probably won't be surprised to hear, the article that Galileo wrote was filled with very uncomfortable race related lines like this paragraph. While the trouble will be greatest in black inner city neighborhoods, other places are also certain to have burgeoning youth crime problems that will spill over into upscale central city districts, inner ring suburbs, and even the rural heartland. To under score this point, Abraham recount was one of the people who's talking to, recounted a recent town hall meeting in a white working class section of the city that has fallen on hard times there, becoming afraid of their own children. There were some big beefy guys there, too, and they're asking me, what am I going to do to control their children? There's a lot going there, including the idea that. Like, well, crime in the inner city is obviously going to happen. It's a problem because it might spill over into upscale areas and in the suburbs, right. Like, there's so much happening here. I'm trying to like, yeah, because I'm so, like, even the time frame, like, like, I I'm revealing my age here, but I'm in high school when this is happening so, like, I am who he's talking about. Yeah. You know, absolutely. Inner city, black male, you know, I'm saying so I'm like, and just little step. Left would drop and it's like, you see people like, I'm walking home from school, then my PE clothes no less, you know, because I got, I got shipped out to a suburban high school, you know? So, like it wasn't my I was Long story short, joint custody, yada yada, right? So I went to the nicer high school. So walking home, I'm just like stupid headphones on listening to Wu Tang and like watching the lady clutch her purse and cross the street and just. About like, you're nervous about situation and I'm like, dude, like I'm you see my nerd *** and PE clothes with my both straps on my backpack. Like, I'm really a you're telling me I'm a problem. And the reason why I'm a problem is because this is the source material that us moving into your city, into this part of town is going to bring the problems that you're talking about in this thing. Absolutely. Yeah. That's that's exactly. And that that kind of fear. That's that specific populations fear is what he's stocking with this. Yeah. And. Basically, the bulk of this article, there's that little study from Philadelphia that's that. That is kind of the the statistical nut for for what he's writing here, but most of it's based on interviews with police officers and other individuals with a very obvious bias. One District Attorney is cited in the article is saying about children they killer maim on impulse without any intelligible motive. And a police officer is quoted as saying, I never used to be scared. Now I say a quick Hail Mary every time I get a call at night involving juveniles. I pray, I go home in one piece to my own kids. See, there's some, but it's like all these times where we say, like like, Fast forward to Tamir Rice and you're treating this 14 year old like a *** **** adult, it's this ****. It's like, like we not just keep like we're kids. Yeah, kids like everybody else. I'm sorry I'm so triggered right now. This was it's you totally picked the right type, bro. Yeah, it's it's it's it's not going to get less frustrating. Yes, I know. So. In the article, these quotes are followed by quotes from a group of what who Delio describes as life term inmates in a prison in New Jersey. And dulio make sure we know of these inmates that quote, many of them are black males from inner city, Newark and Camden. And these guys he quotes as being terrified of today's super predator children, too. So he's being like, look, even these black criminals in prison are scared of kids these days. Like, it's it's really a pretty horrific article. Yeah. Now, according to Wikipedia, dulio is a Democrat today. I don't know if that's true. I don't know much about his present life, but it is important we be clear that he was wrong about everything, all of it predicted in this article. His big prediction is that because of these super predators, juvenile crime would triple by 2010. But of course, by the time he wrote this article, juvenile crime had already been dropping for a couple of years, and by 2011, juvenile homicides had plunged by 2/3. So he's literally the opposite of of what he says happens pretty much and. Despite the fact that he was perfectly wrong about what's pretty much the only noteworthy claim he makes in his career, Dulio received two awards in 2010 for excellence in academics. Of course, again, it doesn't matter. What matters is you gave people an excuse to be scared and do violence. That's all you gotta do. You gotta do, man, folks. Yeah, yo. It's what's. Yeah, what's interesting about this moment is around I'm a really show y'all some. Some, like, actual politics was like around the end of the 90s. There was a call that came from really from jail that was like, y'all got to stop doing Dr Bys. And it was basic because it was like, listen, dude, it's just, it's just not Gee. Like this is not, we're not spending our lifetime in prison for yada. Just drive by somewhere and shoot some. So, so even like even the violent crime kind of slowing down, that was like we did that for ourselves, you know, saying like you like it wasn't. And granted obviously like the war on drugs and the gang injunctions and Rico and all this different stuff and the gang uptick, like obviously like you're of course you're going to drop, you're going to drop crime if gentrification starts. Stuff that. The economy is getting huge. Yeah, I was like, it gets created. Yeah, I'm like, we got jobs, number one. I'm like, well, we're adults now. We have jobs. And there's other things to do happening around this. Yeah. You start to see the impact of the fact that they got lit out of ******* gasoline, you know, starting in, like, what, the 70s or the 80s? So, like, a bunch of **** happens. That's why crime drops by so much. Total. What's important is that Julio is, again, perfectly wrong. Absolutely wrong. Yeah. Now, the despite this fact, his work had a huge influence on how juvenile crime was perceived, and it led to a massive change nationwide and how often children were tried and sentenced as adults. I want to quote now from an article in NBC News about this. Because it makes a good point about some broader trends that Delios work fed into, so he's not obviously the beginning of this quote. Just a few years before, the news media had introduced the terms Wilding and Wolf Pack to the national vocabulary to describe five teenagers 4. Black and one Hispanic who were convicted and later exonerated of the rape of a woman in New York Central Park, that's this kind of animal savagery was already in the conversation, said Kim Taylor Thompson, a law professor at New York University. the Super Predator language began a process of allowing us to suspend our feelings of empathy towards young people of color. And again, I might, I might quibble about it, that this began the process, I think, as this is another moment, yeah, yeah. But it escalates. I think it's fair to say that it does. Escalate. Absolutely. And and and more to the point, it leads to kind of some structural things that that that escalate how this is actually like built into the legal system. Now, it's probably worth noting before we move on that Julio's mentor was a political scientist named James Q Wilson. Now, Mr. Wilson got famous for writing a 1985 book with the title Crime and Human Nature, which argued that criminality was caused by specific genetic factors. Yeah, it is. You will not again. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You know, this is going up. He also got famous for chasing around Dennis the menace. Yeah, yeah. He cut Mr. Wilson because this is this. Is that Mr. Wilson? Yes. Alright, yeah. Anyway, go on. He spends a lot of his book writing paragraphs like this. A central problem, perhaps these central problem in improving the relationship between white and black Americans is the difference in racial crime rates. No matter how innocent or guilty a stranger may be, he carries with him in public the burdens or benefits of his group identity. Now. It means bags, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The fact that like, yes, people carry with them like the benefits of of how their group, the group that they visually at least belong to, is pursued by society. Sure. Yeah. But it's yeah, it there's a lot of kind of eugenics Y **** in this book there's sort of talking about like certain populations or more prone for crime. And it it definitely, definitely ignores a lot of important things like how economics feed into it and how certain historical trends. There's obviously he's he's he's a ***** ** **** and it's not surprising that racists. That racist ****? Uh, what is surprising is that both of these guys, these very right wing, very kind of white supremacist thinkers, are backed not just by conservatives but by supposedly liberal colleges. And what they wrote was uncritically disseminated by large chunks of the mainstream media. And here's NBC again. The Marshall Projects Review of 40 major news outlets in the five years after his weekly standard article shows the new legit, the neologism, popping up nearly 300 times. And that is an undercount. There was the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bonding magazine profile of Julio, who grew up there. Until recently, Pennsylvania had the country's largest population of people still serving life sentences without parole for crimes they committed as children. There was also a lengthy, mostly gentle New Yorker profile, a spot on the New York Times op-ed page, and an appearance on CBS Evening News. The media exposure led to conference invitations, which led to more media exposure. The word super predator became so much a part of the national vocabulary that journalists and talk show hosts used it without reference to dulio, including even Oprah Winfrey. In a segment on Good Morning America. Yeah. So this is one of those things that is just such a successful piece of yeah, ******* culture jamming. Clinton too it. Yeah, Clinton to everyone uses it. And most people don't even recognize, know anything about Julio, know anything about Wilson, know anything about like, where this comes from. They just kind of take it as scientific fact almost that moment, even with with oprahs like stellar. Yeah. Reputation with black people that moment. Like we never forgot that. Yeah. You know, I'm saying that was like, yo really, like, you really gonna let this man talk, talk about us like this. Yeah. And it's perfect. What he's saying is really perfectly framed for shows like Oprah was doing for, like, daytime TV, right? Yeah. Kind of thing that people who are like, in the middle of their day will, will stop to hear about because you're, you're tickling that amygdala. You're making the like, for one thing, adults are always a little, not always, but it is very common for adults to be kind of uncomfortable around teenagers. Yeah, they're weird. They like things you don't understand. Yeah. You forgot what it was like to be one. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And if you can, again, there's a **** load of money to be made in tapping into the fact that a lot of adults are just kind of uncomfortable around teams. And to our to our. I mean, I taught freshman, so I was around. Yeah, teens all the time. But in adults defense, teens are weird. Oh yeah. I I got one in my house. And without a Taser, for sure. I got one in my house. And I'll be like, I love you. You are. You are. You are my child. I am raising you. But you weird. Cause like, Oh yeah, yeah, they're like all sorts of all sorts of music that that. I just think finally people, finally music is wrong. It took a long time. It took a long ride. One before me who said that music was wrong, was wrong, but now it's wrong. Now it's wrong now. Now it's wrong now. I am. I am happy to report that my child is an old soul when it comes to music. And like, we actually like a lot of the same stuff except for her B2BT S obsession. But besides that, we're like, we're pretty much on the same page. But that's an exception. Her father's a rapper. So yeah, of course she's gonna know a little bit more about music. Hmm. Yeah, it's, uh, anyway, so yeah, the fear dreamed up or drummed up by these nonsense theories and the media recitations of them led to a surge in 0 tolerance in zero tolerance rules for kids in school and a lot of horrible **** we covered in an episode we did titled The War On Children. If you want more of an idea of how politicians grabbed on to all of this, I should read a quote from Senator Orrin Hatch in 1996. We've got to quit coddling these violent kids like nothing is going on getting some of these do gooder liberals to do what's right. Is real tough. We'd all like to rehabilitate these kids, but by gosh, we are in a different age. Bowl, right? Orrin Hatch, everybody. Orrin Hatch, everybody. The man who made sure that you can sell supplements filled with lead to people and there's no regulations on it. Good man. That's our guy. We love Orrin Hatch. So today, however, we're not. This is just a leaded because the thing that we are talking is, is one of the worst crimes. All this rhetoric and racism directly enabled. This is a story of greed that begat violence on an almost industrial scale, the cash for kids scandal. Now our two main ******** for today are a pair of former judges, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan. Yes, Ciavarella is how it's pronounced more or less now. Mark A Ciavarella was born on March 3rd, 1950. The Wilkes Barre, PA. He was raised on the East End of the city, and he went to a Catholic High School. Here's how the New York Times described his upbringing. Quote. A stellar athlete and student Judge, Ciavarella was the son of a brewery worker and a phone company operator nicknamed Scooch. Like his father, he drove a beat up Volkswagen Beetle for years even after moving away. He visited his aging mother daily until she died in 2007. So the boys name was scooch, scooch, scooch. And scooch grows up, you know, to his credit. He's working class, like, a lot. Most people become judges, not don't come from. Like I say, man, you and Nick, they're like, scooch, bro. Like how you become a man. Come on, you scooch. Yeah, I'm like, you one of the guys, bro. They don't they don't call rich kids. Scooch. No, nobody, nobody ever went to a British boarding school and got called Scoot, bro. Scooch, man, you and scooch? Y'all cut school went to the corner liquor store, stole a beer and, like, hung out and smoked your granddad cigarettes, like, absolutely. Scooch stole a lot of cigarettes. Yeah. Like I'm gonna say 13. I'm at least, yeah. So after law school, he went to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. I think that's how it pronounced. Mark Ciavarella ran for a seat in the country's court of Common Pleas in August of 1994. And now as a judge, because he wins, he becomes known for the fact that he is a harsh sentencer. And also kind of like he, he likes to be kind of the Judge Judy dude. He likes to have these, like, quips and ****. And I want to play an ad from his 1994. Campaign to make it clear how inside of the Super predator zeitgeist this dude was. I hate this guy already. Yeah, he's not great. You're a teen and convicted of murder, rape, or violent crimes against our children or the elderly. You can expect that I will impose the maximum sentence allowed by law. Now, you can't do that. No. Legally, no. You can't run to be a judge. There's a thing called the Judicial Code of Conduct, Dude. One of the things it says is that if you're running to be a judge. You can't make pledges or promises to voters about your rulings. Other than that they'll be faithful and impartial. Listen, cause you're a judge, let me. OK? Can I can I put my teacher hat on right now? Yeah. OK. Listen, civics lesson, you got your 3 branches of government, right? And two of the three branches are elected officials. The reason why you don't elect, quote UN quote judges are because they are supposed to be above the fray. You're supposed to not be able to because of popularity. What's going on in the world you're supposed to not be. They are supposed to be above that because they are adjudicating the rights and privileges of everybody around us. So you not supposed to do that. You even running an ad is already like fam. What is you. You can't like this is not. Then you go to law school like you're not allowed to. I'm so frustrated right now. I'm sorry. Yeah. Yeah. It is frustrating. Yeah. But you know what's not frustrating? Proof? The products and services that support this podcast. Because they very few of whom are running for judgeships, although never actually some you could have. Did you just say that the products and services are frustrating? None of them. Not a single one. I don't know, man. Some of those dudes be seeping in. I don't know what our filters be doing, you know, I'm saying, but I will say it's a lot of y'all because y'all. Showing up, boy. Yeah. Yeah. Well, watch it be the Washington State Highway Patrol again. Yeah. How did that happen? How did that happen? It's weird, too, that they would like. And why us? Yeah, who becomes a cop in Washington? Because of a podcast at it's like when Coke Industries was like, who the ****? Like what? What? ************ listens to a podcast and goes, well, that's where I'm giving my oil refining business. Who is our demographic? Who do we want to move to? Ohio? Yeah, it's very funny. People that listen to these podcasts, yeah. So here's some ads. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. 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A therapist can help you become a better problem solver, which can make it easier to accomplish your goals, no matter how big or small they happen to be. So if you're thinking of giving therapy a try. Better help is a great option. It's convenient, accessible, affordable, and it is entirely online. You can get matched with a therapist after filling out a brief survey. And if the therapist that you get matched with doesn't wind up working out, you can switch therapists at any time when you want to be a better problem solver therapy can get you there. Visit behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's better Com behind. Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. Anything, particularly young children out into nature so that they can experience it and take time off from this virtual world of being always on your cell phones and so on. And get the feel of nature so that you come to be fascinated, then you come to want to understand it, and then you come to love it, and at that point you want to protect it. And then we'll come to the sort of healthy world that I envision as a good future for us. And the rest of life on this planet. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we're back. So. One of Judge Ciavarella's opponents in that election, Thomas Kometa later, like he, he brings up that, like, this ad is a breach of judicial ethics. Yeah, and Cometa says pretty sensibly, how can you trust someone who runs for Judge, judge and breaks the law as a candidate to, like, follow the law while they're a judge? Right exactly. Now our boy responds that it's fine because all of the keywords in his ad were, quote, allowed by law. Which is a very funny response to this. I hate this guy. So, yeah, Oh my God, I hate this guy. You ruined my childhood. I'm telling you, whoever that is, he ruined my childhood. Yeah, I don't. I'm not even in his state. Boy, he he he was a real king of ruining childhoods. This guy. So, Judge Ciavarella, however it's pronounced I'm. I'm hearing some weird things in the Italian site that I just checked in to double check this and I forgot. Look, people, there's a lot of names. In this show, you bought a names. I even watched documentary about this. I forget I'm bad at it. Like, you could deal with it. Go listen to *******. I don't know what's another podcast that is good at names. None of them are because they're sort of like me. Probably some sort of NPR name NPR. ******* listen to NPR. They do this ****. They're good at that. Thing is. So The thing is, he put a lot of innocent people in jail already know that he does. Ohh that's. Yeah. You ain't even gotta tell that. I already know he did. Yeah. Yes. So that's judge Silverella's background, right? That's the kind of man he is. And we'll return to him in a minute because these are our main character today. But we should talk about a friend of his, judge Michael Conahan, who's another part of this story. Ohh, conahan. Conahan? Yeah. Now, where's chevella? Was a working class kid who clawed his way into the upper crust. Michael was born sipping mint juleps at the Country Club. That may be a slight exaggeration, but his dad was town mayor for 12 years. He is, you know, like he's he's he's the mayor's son. Yeah, I hate this guy now. His dad also owned a Funeral Home and was a heinously. Abusive prick. While Conahan was begging for clemency, spoilers. Years later, his lawyer said quote, he comes from a family with a patriarch who drove his children to success and used money as a barometer of that success. He was taught the Inns justified the means. Wait, did you say he was begging for clemency? Yeah, this is when he is being tried for the stuff that he does. So take this with a grain of salt, right? Oh yeah. But here's the Times Tribune try, like reporting on what he claimed about his upbringing. Later, Mr Conaghan was beaten mercilessly by his father when he was a teenager for simply forgetting to stoke the family furnace at the Funeral Home. His childhood left him with deep insecurities and inadequacies that he repressed with alcohol. So he's he, he he definitely, I think, has a drinking problem. We'll talk about how much we believe any of that, or how much we believe it, even if it thinks does, dude says later. See, that's the that's the stuff that I'll be like, listen, man, you just you just can't trust white people, yeah. Because I'll be like, what that should do was build empathy. Yeah. That you went through that. You should be like, you know what? I'm gonna be much more gracious to a lot of people. These people come from struggle. It's been hard. Hell, I was beat for doing things I wouldn't have. I understand that. You may have made some bad decisions in your life. It's all good, man. I'm going to give you a second chance, but no. You decided to become. Nah, bro. Nah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's one of those, like, I know a lot of people who got smacked around as kids. Me too. Most people I know. Did not do the things that this guy later don't even. Yeah, so I was like, you don't even need to finish. I've been smacked around Yo said I got I got spanked in my public school, dude. Yeah, me too. Yeah. Now, while Conaghan was still a child, there was an incident in his father's political career that what if his sisters would later note as relevant? Their dad awarded a business contract to a good friend, which led to charges that he'd committed an ethics violation. Quote. The elder Mr Conaghan couldn't understand why people considered it an ethical violation because he was awarding a contract to a friend because he thought that friends work would benefit the community. She said their father never understood this. He couldn't see what the problem was. So no in these two guys. Drop you've got one working class kid with a chip on his shoulder who's willing to violate ethical guidelines to threaten children in order to get elected by hitching his star to a racist criminal justice trend. And then you've got the insecure and possibly traumatized rich kids son of a politician raised to believe that blatant cronyism and corruption is fine if your goals are noble. Right? So these are our main characters, Kombo. Yeah, these are real combo. I appreciate you having me on this, because I would have had. Thoughts? Had I been listening to this show, I'd be like, I got thoughts. So I'm very glad to be on this. Yeah. Ohh, boy. Buckle in. So, Judge CFO Rolla was on the county Court of Common Pleas, and Judge Conahan was the President judge, which gave him power of the purse. He gets to decide spending for a lot of the local justice system, right? Like, he's a big part. He has a lot of power in deciding where the money goes in terms of, like, incarceration and stuff for the county. OK. The New York Times lays out what happens next. Quote It all started in June of 2000 with a simple business proposition. According to the judge's indictment and more than 40 interviews with courtroom workers, authorities and others. Robert J Powell, a wealthy personal injury lawyer from Hazleton, PA, and longtime friend of Judge Conaghan, wanted to know how he might get a contract to build a private detention center. Judge Ciavarella thought he could help the two men agreed to meet and, according to prosecutors, somewhere in that conversation. The plan was hatched that courthouse workers and county officials would later describe as a freight train without breaks. First, Judge Ciavarella put Mr Powell in touch with the developer, who also happened to be an old friend, Robert K Mericle, to start work on finding a site. Then in January 2002, the month Judge Conahan became President judge, giving him control of the courthouse budget. He signed a secret deal with Mr Powell agreeing that the Court would pay 1.3 million in annual rent on top of 10s of millions of dollars. The county and state would pay to house that delinquent juveniles. And by the end of that year, Judge Conahan had gotten rid of the competition by eliminating financing for the county detention center. So they make a deal with these people making a child prison, and then they close the county child prison and agree not just to send kids there and give them the money that comes from sending kids there. Yeah, but to give them a special $1.3 million a year deal on top of all that money, right? Yeah. Already pretty ****** **. It's already all bad, dude. Like. In yeah, in every well. OK. Let me not say every. In California, when I was teaching the idea the, the the theory was it takes about $3000 a day to educate a child. So when you got into school, took role and you clicked. Evans here. Click the school got $3000 right? So This is why role was so important and when you ditched, why it was so important, why you had truancy offers officers. Why the police pulled up if you wasn't at school? Because it's like I make 3 grand every time you hear and every time you not hear with some sort of unexcused absence. I'm losing $3000 per student. So I am incentivized. Just to make sure, you and the seat. I really don't care whether you learn anything or not. I just need to know you wouldn't seat. So when you add that to prisons, it's the same thing. How much does it cost to prison? A kid to, you know, in prison a kid, 3000 dollars, $5000. You mean to tell me I can make how much? How much can I make per this? OK, dope. Well, then check this out. Here's the situation. How about I feed you stuff and you just throw me money back? God, it's ****** **. I mean, and it is, it is like it's a little more. Understandable. In schools just because, like, yeah, school has fixed costs, budgets are usually tight, and like, yeah, that's a problem. It is a problem. Hmm. With what? What's happening here? They had a place to put these kids? Yeah, it was fine. Purely about allowing a couple of dudes to, to profit, right, to profit off of incarcerating children. And this was a really obvious scheme, too. Many of their colleagues saw what was going on, at least the surface parts of it, and complained. Judge Chester Muroski sent a letter to the county commissioners. Complaining about the increase in detention costs, he was transferred by Conaghan to another court a couple of days later because again, conaghan's the president judge. Yeah. So this other judge complaints and he's like, yeah, you're you got a different job now, man. Yeah, Morosky later told interviewers quote they were unstoppable. I knew something was wrong, but they silenced all dissent. And again, he doesn't know everything that that we would know later. He just knows that, like something shady is going on and he complains about like, the detention center. Yeah, so there's a lawsuit over this. The county controller, Steve Flood, leaked a state audit, which showed that the state had analyzed the deal to lease the center as a bad one. So Steve flood leaks that, like, hey, the state said that, like, there's no good reason to do this. This is just, like, seems to kind of be a grift. Now, the child prison in question, which was named PA Childcare, then sued Mr Flood for releasing trade secrets while Judge Conahan sealed the lawsuit to stop any of the leaked documents from getting out to the public. One court worker later told the Times everyone began to assume that the judges had some vested interest in the private center because they were pushing it so doggedly. Yeah. And they did. Of course they did. I was like, please get to that. Yeah. Like, of course they did. Why? Kids get maximum sentences. We teenagers getting maximum sentences anyway, going, oh boy, it's it's prop. You already know how bad. This is. But also, it's gonna be worse in some ways than I think. You might be ready. You probably are, because I only know my own experience. I only know California. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'll be interested to see if you're surprised by some of the things these kids go away for because I I don't know, like you. I mean, they're they're like, OK, before you tell me this story, I will tell you the story of a friend of mine who he was an upper classman was in. I tell you two stories. One, he was in the back seat. Basketball player in the back seat asked for a ride home. You know your kids, you know? Yeah. Some kids got a car. Like, everybody have a car. This kids got a car. It's like, hey, can I get a ride home? So, like, yeah, I get a ride home. We gonna make a stop right quick. So the dudes up front in the front made a stop right quick, broke into somebody's house, rob some stuff, get in there. He's in the back seat. Sleep right, dude, the kids tell. Even on the stand, the kids were like, yo, he really had nothing to do with it. We was just giving a ride home. He's not really involved in all that. The kid did five years and they told him they they they told the judge, dude, we were just giving him a ride home. Like he had nothing to do with it. Still went to prison, right. I have another friend who's a uncle was hiding a syringe from his mom or my friend's grandma because that was his uncle, right. So he was like, yeah, so it's that's my friend's mom. So he's like, it was a syringe in his backpack. Had no idea. You have this thing that was called the gang injunctions in Los Angeles. Which was like, yeah, if you were, if you were in more than if you were in a group of two or three more people's rights. Considered a gang, right. So standard you walking home from school with two of your friends, you're in a gang, right? So the full pulls him over, searches the backpack. You gotta crack syringe, right? The judge listen on Mama's Robert. The judge was like, this kid has no criminal record. I truly believe his story, but the law says I have a mandatory minimum of five years. Oh boy, this kid did five years. For his yeah Uncle Syringe came out of criminal. Guy came out of prison a criminal like he was like, yeah. Now he's a criminal cause. Like you just you just made you just threw him to the wolves and there's a lot of documentation of that. Like that's what happens when you send kids to these facilities. Alright. So anyway, what could I will I will tell you some of the things these kids went away for. OK. And we'll we'll see how you feel about that. But Jesus Christ. OK. So Powell, the guy who is the. The realist or the the lawyer who like helps start talking about this deal, would later claim in court. That after they get this thing underway, the two judges extorted him for bribes. And they basically said, we won't send more kids to your facility, and it'll go out of business, right, if you don't, if you don't pay us directly. I think that's a lie. Obviously, they got paid. Yeah. I think he's lying about them extorting him. I I suspect this was the plan from the beginning, right? Hmm. There's a number of reasons this is unlikely. One thing is that as the Times Tribune reports, which is a local paper, there were plenty of other kids from Pennsylvania to go to the to the, go to the, the juvenile detention center. It wouldn't have gone out of business if these judges had stopped. So I think they just had. I think they had a mutually beneficial arrangement. I don't think he got extorted at all. The reality seems to be that Powell and his business partner, the builder of the PA Childcare center, Robert Mericle, agreed to bribe Conaghan and Judge Ciavarella in order to secure $1.3 million a year in guaranteed rent, plus additional funds. Because every time they get another youth prisoner, they get more money. So in exchange for this, Judge Ciavarella and Conahan get hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in total about $2.8 million and this is over I think like a four or five year. So a lot of money. Now Judge Ciavarella was extremely eager to do his part, as this quote from the Wall Street Journal's coverage makes makes clear. Quote Judge Judge Mark Ciavarella junior reportedly sent kids to the private detention centers when probation officers didn't think it was a good idea. Some kids there when their crimes were nonviolent. He sent kids there when their crimes were insignificant. It was as though he was determined to keep those private prisons filled with children at all times. According to news stories, offences as small as swiping a jar of nutmeg or throwing a piece of steak at an adult were enough to merit a trip to the hoosegow. Over the years, Mark Ciavarella racked up a truly awesome score. He sent kids to detention instead of other options at twice the state average, according to the New York Times. He tried a prodigious number of cases in which the accused child had no lawyer here, says the times. The judges numbers were fully 10 times the state average. And he did it fast, sometimes rendering a verdict in the neighborhood of a minute and 1/2 to 3 minutes. What? Yeah, ohh like, ohh man, just instantly some people will say there were 32nd judgments where he just stands before him and he's just, you're done bro. So this is the stuff my pops would talk about. He would be like, we would know him among the other probation officers who they would already know. Like this kid don't need to go to those he need to go to. Like he's fine. Just like, let me you know. I'll take care of him. You know, I'm saying. And you stand in front of judge. As soon as you see the judge, you be like, oh, **** here we go. He's not going to listen to me, you know. I'm saying so my father was like in his 30 years, he never he never he never recommended prison ever. 30 years, never recommended prison, who's always like, I'll take him, I'll take him, I'll take him, I'll take him. Didn't matter. He knew. He knew the judge when he walked in. He knew the judge. He would be like the kids going to jail. His kids going to jail. He just knew as soon as he looked at the. At the judge. Yeah. Yeah. And and it's one of those like, yeah. It it's it's it's just so ****** ** that it that it could work that way that it's ever been allowed to work that way that, like, it doesn't everyone can know it's wrong, including like ******* the, the, the, the, the parole officers and everyone. It's just this guy. It's one of those things, like I I know some people who have like not done time because they got a judge who was like get a great judge, chill. Like, yeah, Judge who was like was like, this is ********. Like, I'm not. I have no desire. A friend of mine just didn't go to prison. A couple of, we were at his all in court with them a couple of months ago. And it was because the judge was like, well, this is this is like, basically said the judge equivalent, like, this is a stupid case. Yeah. So that does happen. But I mean, that's the, you know, the amount Aubrey's case. Like, that was a good judge. He was like, yeah. What, you get him sometimes? Yeah, sometimes you get it when they're bad, they can do a lot of damage. And that's like, Silverella does a lot of damage. Yeah. The Morning Call, which is another local paper in Pennsylvania, does a good job of outlining some of the several of these cases. And this is from after this all broke as a story and a bunch of the judges victims sue. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna read a quote here of them kind of summarizing some of the worst cases. Among them was Melanie Petrillo, who said she was twelve when she first went before Silverella in juvenile court in 2002. Ciavarella, she said, wouldn't let her speak in her own defence. On Monday, Petrillo testified that a visiting friend set a small fire in a garbage can outside her house. She went inside to get a glass of water, and police quickly arrived. She was arrested and later taken before Ciavarella, who sentenced her to a few months at the former Luzerne County Juvenile Detention Center. It was horrifying, Petrillo recalled. I had to put a blanket over my head so the cockroaches wouldn't fall on me. Like many of CFL and Conaghan's victims, this was the start of years of relentless contact between Petrillo, a child, and the criminal justice system. When Petrillo went away for the first time, it was to a county center, not to the place bribing the judge. But she was released under harsh probation terms, which of course she violated. Which brought her back in front of Judge Ciavarella, who then sent her to PA child care. Who was this place giving him kickbacks, of course. Yeah, very old story Petrillo claims, this time behind bars. Led to her falling in with a bad crowd due to her reputation, which led to her getting a burglary charge. She winds up in front of Zavala third time and she she doesn't get out of juvenile detention until she's an adult like her whole childhood from age 12 on. So the last six years of her childhood just gone? Yeah. As a result of this this chain of events now, the judge sent another girl, Elizabeth Laurent, to a PH2PH childcare for 32 days after she was caught bringing opiate pills to school. Yeah, she of course then had after getting out of PO childcare. He has a probation violation. Obviously this happens with all of them and she winds up in front of Judge Ciavarella again. He sends her next two camp Adams, which is a juvenile boot camp. I haven't seen any evidence this boot camp, gate camp gave him evidence, gave him kickbacks, like he doesn't always send kids to the places that are paying him. He really likes to send kids, incarcerate children. Even if he's not getting money, he's just fine to take bribes for it too. Elizabeth Lorent, because she winds up getting sent to this boot camp, loses the college. Dollar ship that she'd won and obviously things go worse for her after this. She claims that she started hanging out with a a quote UN quote bad kid because the parents of her old friends wouldn't let her hang out with him anymore. And like, yeah, things go, you know, from there she's in and out of different places. Her overwhelming memory of Ciavarella as he demolished her hopes and dreams again she had a college scholarship set up when this happens was coldness and what she described as a nonchalant demeanor that's every like he's again very perfunctory for him. Zachary Richards wound up in front of the judge because he stole a candy bar. He wasn't able to this? Yeah. At age 14, he steals a candy bar. Sea verla sends him to juvenile detention and he's there for the rest of his childhood from age 14 to 18, mostly in PA childcare, the place giving the judge kickbacks. His mom is adamant that Zachary never recovers from this and she blames his suicide at age 27 on Judge Ciavarella. She is not the only mother making this claim, and I'm going to quote now from a write up by PIN. Live Fonzo's son was 17 and an All Star wrestler with a chance at a college scholarship when he landed in Ciavarella's courtroom on a minor drug paraphernalia charge. Though the teen, Edward Kinsella Edward Kinza Koski, had no prior criminal record, he spent months at the private lockups in a wilderness camp and missed his senior year of high school. Kinza Kosky emerged an angry, bitter, depressed young man. He committed suicide last June at the age of 23. He was just never the same. He couldn't recover. He wanted to go on with his life. That he was just hurt. He was affected so deeply, more than anyone knew. That's his his mom. Yeah, it's bleak. Ohh, yeah, stuff like that. It just hits so close to home. Yeah, because I know kids who were either my friends or people, like, taught that, like, I know the the like, man. These are like gentle souls. Yeah. And then they're put in this situation over a ****** ******* candy bar. Come on, man. Yeah. Yeah. And then what's crazy is, like, at least in Cali camp is your best bet. Yeah. You know, I'm saying because it's like there's a school there. You know I'm saying it's not like E lake. It's not like central, which is like I mean that's just that's or you get sent up to YA which is California youth authority that's up in the north. That's prison. Like I'm saying because some states the the wilderness boot camps like the worst place you can go it just kind of depends on yeah your system because some of those places are nightmares. Yeah. Yeah. It it it's just everywhere is you know different depending on. How bad? Their general detention. And obviously, our camp is not wilderness in any way. It's just like, it's there's one. There's one in Whittier, CA. Like, just yeah, right off the corner of like, yeah, like the Wilds of Whittier. Yeah, it's just lost padrinos. It's like Whittier and freaking Mar Vista drive. It's just like, oh, hey, look, there's a juvenile prison right there. Yeah. So one of Judge Ciavarella's favorite places to send kids when he couldn't send them to PA Childcare was the Glen Mills School. Ryan Lamoreaux, for example. Sent there by sea of Arella for five years on a vandalism charge. Another 14 year old was sent there for the crime of stealing loose change from unlocked cars to buy a bag of chips. So that's it. That's that's why that kid gets it to the Glen Mills School. Not the car. He's still the car. Nope. Didn't even break a window. Just took didn't change out of it. I just needed some quarters, which like, yeah, we can say isn't ideal behavior, but like, I mean, find the kid. Let me, let me tell you what this place is like. I wanna quote from a. Philadelphia Inquirer article for some context on the Glen Mills School where he sends a child for stealing spare change? OK, another teenager was removed from Glen Mills and sent to a state-run facility in 2017 after councillors stepped on the boy's face and broke his jaw so severely it had to be wired shut. And last summer 2 councillors were caught abusing a Philadelphia teenager on surveillance video. One slammed him to the floor and choked him, then the other punched the 17 year old in the face. Both were later arrested. So that's I feel like kind of. That that happens at Glen Mills, I feel like you just said, stepped on his face. Yep. That's what you said, right? Yeah. Yeah. OK. Yeah. Yeah. And these are two, these are a couple of cases. But, like, it happens so constantly that in 2019, Glen Mills has its license revoked and the state removes all children from its custody. Now, Glen Mills had been founded in 1826, so Judge CFL is a monster. I'm sure this place has been about that. Bad for us. Yeah. In their defense, in the 1800s, you could step on a kid's face. Yeah, you could. It was almost mandatory. Yeah. Now it. And it's one of those things in when you read articles about, like, the fallout from the cast, the the cash for kids scandal, you, you. There's a bunch of, like, comments from judges and other people in the criminal justice system being like, these men did tremendous damage to the criminal, to trust in the criminal justice system, to the sanctity of the courts, to the sanctity of justice. That's like. These guys are pieces of ****. But dude, yeah, like, don't don't try to don't try to get me **** rocks, bro. Like, come on now. We ain't as bad as them, though. I mean, we bad, we bad as them, man. Don't try to give me that **** man. Yeah, kick rocks, dog. You're good. And the reality is that all of the horrible things we've talked about, he only got in trouble for because he took bribes to do them. If he'd just done this because he was a ***** ** **** and he was willing to, he did a lot of it for without getting brought. If he just hadn't taken the bribes, he never would have gotten. Time for this **** and in fact, the hellish sentences he's a he imposed on children for minor what you could only often loosely describe as crimes were lauded and celebrated by his community for years. In 2006, he was reelected for another 10 year term, NPR reports quote. The community applauded him. Schools applauded him. Police applauded him. He would go into schools and he would warn kids, if you come before me, I will send you away. And so schools invited him year after year, to come in and talk to them. So when a kid came before him and there was a school crime, this could be a kid getting into a fight. Or in our case, we had a kid who did a fake Myspace page for the principal. He would say, do you Remember Me being in your school? And he would say, I wish I I said I would send you away, get him out of here. And that's what would happen. He sends kid to a ******* child prison for making a fake Myspace page about, like, an administrator at the school. Oh my God, yeah, like a fake Myspace page. He's like locks a kid up. He gives them a criminal record. For a fake ******* Myspace page. So This is why. Look, look, let me listeners, This is why we're during elections when we hear terms like all he's gonna be tough on crime. We're like, that's a dog whistle. This is what we're talking about. Yeah, is like, that's what you mean by tough on crime? Yeah, like the kid makes a Myspace making fun of his principal. I'm tough on crime. Like, alright, bro, that's what you mean by crime? Just blasting. Yes. Lives apart. Yeah, for no real reason. But you know who won't? Destroy the lives of children for no good reason. Can't say you can't say that because it could be a Washington State Patrol. Washington State Highway Patrol. And I was like, I don't know, man. I can pretty much guarantee. And that one is a high possibility. One time we had little FBI ads. Yeah, you guys could be the FBI or it could be, I mean, even worse, it could be one of those, the food box companies that uses their profits to hunt children for sports. And when you're off the coast of India, the one you really don't like. I don't know. Which one I think you hate. Ohh, they're the ones who have the the island where you can hunt, hunt, hunt kids for sport, right? Are you serious? Tested Indonesia, is that? Yeah, look it up. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for. 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Hey, it's Rick Schwartz, one of your hosts for San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we sit down with Doctor Jane Goodall to hear her inspiring thoughts on how we can create a better future for humans, animals and the environment. If we don't help them find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can't save chimps, forests or anything else. And that becomes very clear when you look at poverty around the world. If you're living in poverty, you can't afford to ask as we can. Did this product harm the environment? Was it cruel to animals, like, was it factory farmed? Is it cheap because of unfair wages paid to people? And so alleviating poverty is tremendously important. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we're back. Ah, those are some good ads. Absolutely no 50% prop of children who appeared before Judge Ciavarella did so without a lawyer. He remanded an average of 300 children per year into custody, which is nearly obviously one a day. When you factor in vacations, it probably is about one a day. In the years before he made the deal with PA Childcare, CFR Ella had remanded about 4% of the juveniles in his court at 2 criminal custody. As soon as he starts getting paid it goes to 25%. So this is very obvious. Some of the offenses that he locked kids up for included, as stated, making a face fake Myspace page. Other kids were jailed for stealing a $4 jar of nutmeg or throwing a sandal at a parent. I know, right? Yeah. Why would you not laugh if you were a judge you like? Yo, you do it, you do a chance. Alright? Girl with sandal at the kid. I'm glad the sandal as a kid should have is the judge should throw a sandal out. Just throw a sandal at him. Yeah, that is absurd. Also, gens ears, let me tell you what Myspace is. Haha. Ohio Myspace was when the Internet was innocent, and it was one of the precursors to it was a social media page. It's when some guy named Tom tricked all of us into learnings to learning how to imagine if Facebook if magine. If Facebook hadn't destroyed civil society. That would be my space. Yeah yeah, popular for a while. Some people found some good bands because of it, and then the guy who found it got $600 million and. Disappeared and is like, it is not mired in any way in any of the no the so she's like so good and he never changed his profile picture. Never. Yeah his profile picture and so far there hasn't been any self indulgent documentaries. Hmm. Hasn't said ****. Just why doesn't buy any. You're welcome. That's what proves he's the only one of them who's a reasonable person. Cause a reasonable person gets $600 million and **** it, it disappears. Yeah, you got buys an island and I'm gone. Yeah, yeah. Sea of Rela told one kid during sentencing to count the number of birds on the window sill outside the courtroom. He gave the boy one month in detention for each bird sitting outside the courtroom. Like, that's the kind of **** he's because he's like the word fun for himself, you know? Yeah, because the kid ain't got no lawyer. Yeah, because getting out. What? Who? Yeah. What's he gonna do? Complain? Yeah. To someone? **** that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. He kid can't be like, I feel like this. I feel like that's not legal. I feel like you can't do that. Yeah, we take care. It yeah, it's pretty maybe $3000. Yeah. In interviews during this. Ciavarella was very open about how severe he could be, he told one journalist quote, my experience has been if you bring a child in who broke the law and put him on probation, chances are he'll be back in the system in a short period of time. If a child believes the consequence will be anything other than placement, they don't care. I have to find consequences that will get their attention. Now, obviously we know statistically that like the worst thing you can do if you. Want kids to not go on to go to prison is lock them up when they're kids. Yeah, there's that has a massive correlation with them being locked up as adults, but whatever. Yeah, there's that also. Also, let me throw in this thing about probation. Why kids go back because if you say part of your probation is you can have no interaction with anyone from your former life or anyone who's involved in any sort of criminal or gang activity. But if that person is your ******* brother. Like, what do you. So do I need to move out? Like, what do you. So if you catch me with my uncle who just sent me to go get some groceries, I bro, I violated probation. I guess I'm going back to prison now, you know? I'm saying so, like, even the probation stuff, like, food's going back. It's like, you. That's you. So I have to move. What you're saying is if I go back home and and a probation officer pull up and I'm literally just sitting on my porch, you know? I'm saying, and the person who's sitting across the street who just checking their mail. It just happens to be from the same hood I'm from. I broke my probation. I'm going back to prison. Yeah. It's yeah. It's like it's very difficult for yes to not wind up in that situation. It's it's a yeah. Yeah. And that's it's that's how it's supposed to be. Now Judge Ciavarella explained in an interview to another reporter quote, School is a place for kids to go and learn. 2% of kids at school should not ruin it for the other 98%. Anyone who gets in the way of that, I don't have a problem sending them away, which is I I can't think of how many times I heard logic like this from like adults in my life when I was a kid that like, well, you just got to get rid of those kids who are are disrupting everyone else. As opposed to like, well, maybe you could figure out what's going on and different, you're the red Mustang to take care of them or whatever, but no, that's not you. About the Red Mustang, no, that's a similar to like the broken window theory. It's like the Red Mustang is like, well, if any of us are speeding on the road and you're driving a Prius, like nobody notices. But if you're speeding and you're a red Mustang and everybody's going to catch you speeding. So that kid who always got them outburst who always got, well, you're a red Mustang, man. Like everybody's going to see what you're doing. So like if you, so you're the problem and everybody sees it. So everybody sees you. Speed. And then all the little Priuses think that they can speed. So then that's how they do these kids, man. It's yeah, yeah. I almost punched an administrator. Was making that analysis once. I was like, yo, I'm look you looking at me like, I'm 23 years old, as when I first started teaching. I'm like, I'm 23. So I'm looking at you like you're talking about me. Like I'm that kid. Like, what the now I'm good. I can't work here. Yeah. Yeah. It's a it's it's awesome. I mean, because they're not thinking about it as like, I'm going, I I think we should be destroying the lives of children. And condemning them to a life of what in many cases is, is very close to slavery. They're thinking like, well, this is it's tough love. This is how it's the same attitude towards like, well, yeah, sometimes you gotta smack a kid around, you know, sometimes you've gotta, like, you have to, you have to be harsh with children, otherwise they'll they'll grow into monsters. Yeah. Which that's a deep analysis than we could do. Yeah. But yeah, I even told a kid who came out of juvie that ended up in my class. I told him that theory, but I told him in the theory in the sense that. Like, these people are gunning for you. Umm, you know, I'm saying so I'm like, like, stay close, homie. Like, just in the sense of, like, I'm trying to, like, I'm trying to protect you from this, you know? I'm saying, like, matter of fact, like the juvie you came from I used to work at before I worked here. So I'm like, I'm trying to tell you, bro, you know you ain't trying to go back, right? They're gunning for you. This the way they think of you. They think of you like this, bro. Man, I'm. I'm. I'm so read more. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the yeah, it's it's. It's pretty bad. This is a pretty bad scheme that these guys have. And again, it would have been perfectly legal if they hadn't been taking bribes. Nothing about these horrible you you see in all the coverage, these like horrible cases that I've just related to you. They go into detail about them, but they rarely note that like, and it would have been fine if they hadn't taken kick. Those aren't crimes. Like, yeah, crimes. You could be bad to children as you want. As a judge, it's fine. The scheme fell apart because in 2007, the parent of a child being railroaded by the judge placed a call to the. Juvenile Law Center of Pennsylvania and these people rule. They started to investigate and found that kids regularly appeared in front of the judge without any law your of their own. And again, this is something he gets in trouble for. It's something you can say like he doesn't have the legal right to do, but he'd done stuff like the campaign ad that he couldn't technically do. Yeah they got in trouble for this if it hadn't been for the bribes. I don't think I I think it's really unlikely. They noted so these the the Juvenile Law Center looks into him and they notice that he's got this tendency. Kids are showing up without a lawyer, and he's got a tendency to very quickly make declare children guilty and take them away from their parents. So they petitioned the state Supreme Court in 2008 to vacate these judgments and the court denies them. So again, if it hadn't been for the bribery the court like already proved, if it hadn't been for the bribery, he probably would have been fine. The thing that destroys him is that it in 2006, so two years before the juvenile. Center starts their investigation and makes this petition. The FBI gets a tip about the fact that he's being bribed from somebody who works in and around him. Right? Finally, one of these ******* people, because everyone knows what's more or less what's happening. They don't know for a fact about the bribery, but like, he buys a yacht. He and Judge Conahan have these mansions next to each other. They've got like, yeah, they're like living better than judges don't aren't poor people, right? Like, you just get taken care of, but like, they're living out of their means. He walking here with a rolly. Got the rolly on like, what's up, guys? Like, yo, where you get that Rolex? Uh, you know me and work some overtime. Like what? Yeah, fam. Yeah. Where you get that Rolex from? Judge overtime. Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah, you get judged. There's no things judge overtime, G they doesn't sync. So he. Yeah. So somebody gives the FBI a tip and they do an investigation. And in 2008, the same year that the the state Supreme Court denies this petition, the FBI charges him. And they come out with like, you know, they it's the same thing we've seen with like, the capital. You get this big charging document that has all of the things the state is accusing them of. They accuse Ciavarella and Conahan of, quote, ordering juveniles to be sent to these facilities in which judges had a financial interest, even when juvenile probation officers did not recommend placement. Now, a flurry of press coverage and investigations followed. Here's the Juvenile Justice Center quote. The scope of the violations of the children's rights in Luzerne County turned out to be more egregious than anyone could have imagined from 2003 to 2008. Lazarin County judicial corruption scandal altered the lives of more than 2500 children and involved more than 6000 cases. Over 50% of the children who appeared before CFL lacked legal representation. 60% of these children were removed from their homes. Many of them were sent to one or both of the two facilities at the center of the corruption scandal, believed to be the largest judicial corruption scandal in our history. This is like a lot of lives that these guys just knew, Luke. I mean, yeah, and and those numbers are pretty stark. So. Judge Conahan, the guy who's says his dad beat him and you know his. Yeah. Holic he as soon as the the FBI starts gunning for them and there's charging documents, he is smarter than his partner. He's like, Yep, I did it. You know what? Yeah, well, you don't have to take me to court. I plead guilty. Right. Which saves the government a lot of money. And as a general rule, that's part of why if you plea. And this is problematic, too, because oftentimes they use this to, like, **** people over and, like, give people charges that maybe they wouldn't have if they went to court. But you kind of take. Well, it better to take a guarantee. Take the hell, maybe go away for 10 years if this actually goes to right. In this case, it's fine. He he's he's absolutely guilty. He pleads guilty. He gets like 11 years. Robert Mericle, who's the guy who's the builder, gets like, gets like a year or so. So does Robert Powell. So everyone involved pleads guilty and goes away, except for Judge Ciavarella, who decides he's not going to plead guilty. He denies he did anything wrong and he demands to take it to trial and fight. These charges. And he's the one that he's the one that, like, came from the struggle. He's the trigger man. Yeah. And he's he's the guy who grew up poor, too. OK. This is all adding up. Yeah, because, like, if you know you you come from money, you know how to play the game. You like, listen, dude. Yeah. I'm guilty. Yeah. Also, as a side note for anybody who's in any sort of, like, romantic relationships, take the advice of the rich, dude. Just take the L listen, when you if you wrong, you know you wrong. Just take the L, you know? Baby love. Babe, my bad. Hmm. You are right. Comprehensively good advice. It is. Comprehensively good advice. The L yeah, just take the L guys. So Judge Silverella does not do this, and he makes it very public. He's he's constantly while his trial is going on, he's up in front of the press as often as possible. He defends himself by saying **** like this to journalists about the bribes that he took. This was a finder's fee. We needed this center built. I was always yelling at kids because that's what they needed, because parents didn't know how to be parents, and so forth. So what's the big deal now? I mean, everybody was celebrating me all these years, and now they're not happy with me anymore just because I took this money. You said defense to bribery finder's fee. This was a finder's fee, fam. This Commission? Yeah, y'all talking about bribes. It was a finder's fee. It's a fighting y'all talking about how dangerous the streets of Philadelphia are. Yeah, I didn't clean these streets up, and now you got a problem. I made a little money off it. Dang, it's very funny. So he gets convicted, and of course, he gets to like, 28 years in prison. Now, Conahan also gets like 11 years or something like that. A pretty significant sentence. But after he's in prison a few years COVID-19. These guys get like convicted in like 2008, 2009. COVID-19 hits, you know, a decade or so later. And Conahan gets compassionate leave to go live with his wife under house arrest. Right. So he's like he's in a back in his mansion with his wife. He does his time. But like with Little grace, a little literally judge Ciavarella is still in incarcerated and he's he's appealed constantly. He continues to protest his conviction and sentence and he's asked, he asks to be set free as a result of COVID and I want to quote. An article in the Times leader about his judge's response to him asking to get out early. Chief U.S. District Judge Christopher C Connor acknowledged that these are compelling reasons for compassionate release, but still denied it, saying that Ciavarella continues to fail to acknowledge the seriousness of his conduct while he now concedes his honest services, mail fraud and tax fraud charges are serious crimes and are not to be taken lightly, Connor writes in his decision, he persists in downplaying the overall criminal scheme and his role within it. Connor goes on to say that the primary need for CRL's. Lengthy prison sentence is so he can reflect on the seriousness of the crime and to promote respect for the law, something which Connor suggests has not happened. So I don't know. The judge is like, you still don't get it. Yeah. Think about that however you want, right? Not yeah. But. But I'm glad he's punished for it. **** him, Deb. Boy. The boy. The boy got to go home with the ankle bracelet. The other homie that tried to fight his, like, Nah, y'all could sit in there day. Yeah. And Conaghan does some time and it's like. Again, think about him getting let out early however you want. Civarelli is the one who is doing the direct harm, the most. Direct harm. At least they both are doing direct harm. See, of roles. The what kind of. Yeah. Sentencing the kids, you know, what kind of prison is that? Do you know, like what kind of prison they're in? I think it's got to be a federal prison, right? Because, yeah, it's a federal prison. It's it's probably a a nicer federal prison. I would. That's what I was gonna say. I was like, I guess it's not the worst of them, but I I don't know. I can't put no judging. No, you know, like. G Pop, you know, I'm saying, careful with that, guys. He doesn't get, you know, murdered. Yeah, or he ain't doing a lot of time. He goes, yeah, that time gonna be done real quick. Put a judge in there with general population. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But yeah, that's the cash for kids scandal. Oh my God, dude. Good stuff. How you feeling? Triggered? Yeah, reminded of. A lot of things. And bad. I feel like good way to describe it. This is the type of stuff that like I I find. So like, how do I say this? Refreshing in the sense that, like it's telling the rest of the world, like, see, we're not crazy. Yeah, I'm not making this stuff up. When we say bigger, it's like, I don't have two hours to explain to you that the system is broken. Or that it's corrupt and just, well, if you were not guilty, then you have nothing to worry about. Like to explain why? That's the dumbest **** I ever heard. It's like, listen, this is what I'm trying to tell you, like fools get sent to jail on **** **** because there's money to be made is what I'm trying to say, you know? I'm saying. And it's like this. They got in trouble because it was obvious that their judges make money doing this ****. They just don't take a direct. Payment from a dude because that's stupid, because they're smarter. They get consulting fees, they get like side jobs where they're like working for this company or giving advice or like helping to do like, there's ways everyone it's the same way with like congressman, the dumb ones take a pile of cash or something, the smart ones quit and get a highly paid job as a consultant, right? Like there's yeah, there's so many ways people profit from doing the same thing that these guys got caught because they were stupid as ****. Yeah, and they still were able to. 2500 people's lives, you know, at least for a while, hopefully as many of them as possible recovered, but, you know, not all. Yeah. Did. Obviously, it's hard to come back themselves. Right. Like, yeah, it's hard to come back, dude. It's hard to come back. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for that one. On Thursday, we're talking about the Texas criminal justice system. That's the ******* is the Texas juvenile crime. OK. The system. Yeah. So check back in Thursday. And I don't know, go hug a cat. Yeah. What are we doing? Is it a live show, Sophie? Yeah. February 17th, fool. February 17th. And and the episode description? You could click the link, but it it's moment the ********. It's the three of us doing the live stream show. And you can watch it wherever you want to. It'll be live for a little while, too. So if you can't do 6:00 PM Pacific, you can. You can watch it on demand. Yeah, you have. Some other time. Yep. Yeah. That'll be for everybody. Yeah. Check it out. And ohh yeah, I got a novel. You can. Yeah, you do. You can Google after the revolution. AK press. If you pre-order it now, you get assigned a copy. It'll come out in May. So go, go buy that. You get a book too, don't you, Mr Prop? I do, man. You could call me Ernest. Slimming way, you know, talking about. Yeah. Poetry book called Terraform Pop Come grab that. Book is poetry and short. Story. I think it's dope. Sophie got a signed copy, you know, I'm saying, yeah, it's good stuff. Yeah. Check it out and go, go check us back out on Thursday, where it'll be sad again. Yep. Bam. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's SPREAK. in the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. 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