Related ? – Will these changes increase the prison population ?
New criminal court charge creates ‘unacceptable pressure to plead guilty’
A controversial new mandatory court charge imposed on defendants found guilty on trial has led to a mass exodus from the magistracy. It has only been three months since rules were changed so that defendants can now be charged up to £1200 and it has been reported that up to 30 Magistrates have resigned in protest to a charge that has been imposed on a homeless man stealing a can of Red Bull and a teenager stealing sweets. This article first appeared on www.thejusticegap.comhere.
US judge receives 28-year jail term for his role in kids-for-cash kickbacks
An American judge known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom manner was jailed for 28 years for conspiring with private prisons to hand young offenders maximum sentences in return for kickbacks amounting to millions of dollars.
Mark Ciavarella Jnr was ordered to pay $1.2m (£770,000) in restitution after he was found to be a “figurehead” in the conspiracy that saw thousands of children unjustly punished in the name of profit in the case that became known as “kids for cash”.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by the former Luzerne County judge between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella Jnr, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year but his lawyers had asked for a “reasonable” sentence, claiming that he had already been punished enough.