It’s right there in the “Law & Order For Dummies” book. If you help create documents so corrupt judges can hide the source of questionable income, that’s obstruction of justice, right?
Why then was the area’s KOZ king, Robert Mericle, only charged with failure to report a crime, if he did do that as prosecutors claim?
In the “Judge Judy For Dummies” handbook, doesn’t it also say that if you did create such documents, you’re complicit in the commission of a crime, if one was indeed committed? We need to be careful here.
And although the average Joe thinks it is, the “L.A. Law For Dummies” book isn’t clear on whether it’s even a crime for two judges to use their offices to help out two business associates, who then pay them more than $2 million for their trouble. Maybe that’s nothing more than ethical misconduct.
At least that’s what Ciavarella’s legal team may try to argue. Some may argue that that’s a stretch.
Anyway, Ciavarella’s trial, finally, is about to begin. It would have been double the fun had his alleged partner in crime or, if you will, alleged partner in ethical misconduct, Michael Conahan, been joining him. But Conahan took his chances on a plea agreement.
Oh, this promises to be one riveting trial, especially if Conahan and Mericle testify for the prosecution as expected.
We just can’t wait for Defense Attorney Al Flora Jr. to rip those two to shreds. And he will. Flora is a skilled defense attorney. Think George Banks and the 100 years, give or take a few, he has kept him on death row.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Flora and co-defense attorney William Ruzzo’s law offices. Or to be in that courtroom when Ciavarella and Conahan, aka Bonnie and Clyde, come face to face. Scowl to Scowl.
Will crafty Conahan testify that this scheme was all Ciavarella’s idea, and he went along reluctantly because Ciavarella scared him to death just like he did those kids? Will Ciavarella counter that it was Conahan who closed a perfectly habitable county-owned juvenile detention center and dangled irresistible millons of dollars in front of him for picking it up from there?
And speaking of a million dollar question, will former Luzerne County commissioners Todd Vonderheid and the imprisoned Greg Skrepenak be called to testify. After all, they played an integral role by locking the county into a 20-year, $58-million lease for the privately-owned juvenile detention center that Mericle built and which enriched the judges.
We’ll have something to say about Mericle’s new plea agreement in the next day or two. This case gets more interesting with each new development, wouldn’t you agree?
- Betty Roccograndi