April 05, 2013
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Bill Ecenbarger’s new book, “Kids for Cash,” details the scandal of the same name that occurred from 2003-2008 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, where ex-judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan accepted millions of dollars in kickbacks from two private, for-profit juvenile facilities in exchange for sending hundreds of children to those facilities (as well as other out-of-home placements) for often-minor offenses. Many of the children appeared in court without counsel.
In a review of “Kids for Cash” in The New York Times this week, writer Abbe Smith calls the book “a harrowing tale, lucidly told by a journalist with a good eye for detail” and counts Juvenile Law Center attorneys among the “heroes … who represented two of the detained children and petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to stop the widespread waiver of counsel.”
March 26, 2013
On March 26, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Batts held that Qu’eed Batts, who received a mandatory life without parole sentence for a crime he committed when he was 14, was entitled to a resentencing hearing. At that resentencing, Mr. Batts can receive a sentence of life, leaving the trial court the discretion to set the minimum term that Mr. Batts must serve.
March 25, 2013
This past September, Sharon Wiggins told Philadelphia Daily News reporter Dana Filippo about her dreams:
"I want to know how it feels to sit with my sister and have a cup of coffee… to walk down the street… to sit in the car and hear the rain just beat down."
Unfortunately, Sharon will never get that chance. She died of heart failure in prison on March 24th at the age of 62.