"You know exactly how things are going," the man snarled at her. "You people have no heart."

The caseworker responded gently that whatever was going to happen would take time, and she hoped that he and his wife would change their attitude.

A minute or so later, she excused herself.

Rick Sealock
Michael Ratcliff

Judge Kemp was able to find a place to put Judith before the girl's next court hearing a few weeks later.

He told Judith and her parents at the hearing that a bed soon would be opening at a residential treatment facility in northern Arizona. The judge suggested that she would be living there for months before the next step — whatever that might be.

"Who's paying for it?" the girl's father asked.

"Frankly, I don't care," the judge responded. "It will get paid for."

"I'm ready to go," Judith blurted.

Reports from the facility over the next few months suggested that she was doing surprisingly well.

But her parents' lives continued to crumble.

Their home was about to go into foreclosure (and later did).

Judith's father became increasingly obsessed and depressed.

Months after he met with New Times at his home, he called to say that his daughter would not even speak with him on the phone anymore.

He blamed Judge Kemp and CPS for having poisoned Judith's mind.

A few weeks after that brief conversation, the man hanged himself.

At last word, Judith still was not living with her mother, who now is in parts unknown. Judith apparently hasn't gotten into trouble with the law for more than a year.


Mike Kemp continues to wonder what difference, positive or otherwise, he had on the lives of Judith and the other children who came into his court day after day.

He questions whether he was spinning his wheels, trying to craft solutions in situations where none existed.

In the end, he says, "I wasn't their parents, was I?"

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7 comments
friedland_law_center
friedland_law_center

Friedland Law Centeris a setup of trained mitigators work extensively with all major banks to reach resolutions on mortgage modifications and foreclosure matters.i strongly recommend to get their services.

friedland_law_center
friedland_law_center

Friedland Law Centeris a setup of trained mitigators work extensively with all major banks to reach resolutions on mortgage modifications and foreclosure matters.i strongly recommend to get their services.

mara siegel
mara siegel

Paul,

Just reread your article.

The article made me angry( as I am on a daly basis in Juv Ct) that St John's Christian R had to plead guilty yesterday to avoid Andy & Az Draconian Juvie transfer mandates.

A Hobson's choice for a 9 yr incompetent child to make.

I have been clandestinely advising behind as I am aMaricopa County Juv Public Defender, prohibited fr doing Pro Bono work o/side of the office. Call me if interested in case & its national ramifications

Mara Siegel602 320-7691

mara siegel
mara siegel

Paul,

Just reread your article.

The article made me angry( as I am on a daly basis in Juv Ct) that St John's Christian R had to plead guilty yesterday to avoid Andy & Az Draconian Juvie transfer mandates.

A Hobson's choice for a 9 yr incompetent child to make.

I have been clandestinely advising behind as I am aMaricopa County Juv Public Defender, prohibited fr doing Pro Bono work o/side of the office. Call me if interested in case & its national ramifications

Mara Siegel602 320-7691

Juvenile's Rights
Juvenile's Rights

This should give the public an idea of what is going on in the juvenile and family courts:

Editorial: Judges SentencedKids for cash

The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it's a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

The judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.

They're alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators.

When a federal judge reviews their plea, though, the question ought to be whether the punishment is adequate - along with the judges being bounced from the bench, disbarred, and losing their pensions.

If the allegations are true, Ciavarella and Conahan were involved in a disgraceful cabal far worse than one that merely lined their pockets.First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.

In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized," center lawyers said.

"Very few people would stand up" to the Luzerne judges, according to the law center's executive director, Robert G. Schwartz.Fortunately, Juvenile Law Center was willing to do so, along with backing from state Attorney General Tom Corbett's office and the state Department of Public Welfare.

The blind justices on the state's high court, though, took a pass. Only last month, they offered no explanation in declining to take up the law center's request that the court step up.

Now, the state Supreme Court should revisit the issue, since the scope of corruption alleged at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre could further undermine confidence in the courts statewide.Authorities need to redress running roughshod over juveniles' rights - a process also likely to bring damage suits. While the local district attorney pledges to "do our best to right the situation," this calls for an independent, outside review.

The two judges' downfall may have rooted out the worst perpetrators of this evil scheme, but the abuse of power alleged in Luzerne County is so startling that it should send shock waves for reform around the state court system.

Andrew
Andrew

Just read the story; throughout I wondered "what did my parents do that these 'parents' didn't". I am not a parent myself, but it is obvious that my parents parented. They encouraged me in my education, went to PTA meetings and other such parent-teacher meetings, helped me schoolwork, got me educational material no matter what the cost (including a computer system, back in 1984, which led to me being a software developer and robotics enthusiast today). My dad has since passed away, and my wife and I take care of mother at our home now (dementia is a helluva thing). Parents need to take care of their kids, so that one day, hopefully, the kids can take care of their parents.

 
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