Forgive this poorly written diary, but I think this sad tale is just the tip of the iceberg of the new corporate reality we all live in. I had never heard of Sandy Fonzo or Judge Ciavarella before an NBC news story that I heard while getting dressed this morning, but it has shaken me to my core. If ever there was a cautionary tale to anyone complacent about the takeover of our government by corporations...this one is it. I should spend more time polishing this story, but I think it's too important to sit on.
Sandy Fonzo had a kid one could be proud of: Edward Fonzo was an all star wrestler at 17 years old. Then he got arrested on a minor drug possesion charge. He was brought in front of Judge Mark Ciavarella who proceeded to throw the book at the young man...sentancing him to several months in a juvenile detention facility for this first offense. The NBC news story contends that the legal experts they consulted with on the story felt that this was a very harsh sentance given the circumstances.
Just another "throw the book at 'em" hard ass judge, right? Not exactly. This past Friday, Judge Ciavarella was convicted of 12 out of 39 charges of corruption. According to the International Business Times:
He was accused of receiving kickbacks from Robert K. Mericle, the builder and co-owner of two juvenile detention facilities in return for closing down the county's only juvenile detention center and sending teenage offenders to a private-run, for-profit facilities, sometimes for minor offenses. The former judge of Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County has been accused of receiving $2.8 million as kickbacks.
Read more: http://www.ibtimes.com/...
Got that? This judge, and another judge in the same county, worked to close down the publicly run juvenile detention facility and the hire a private company to come in and build 2 private detention facilities at a cost of millions to the taxpayers of the county...and then pay them to run them. The head of the company, Robert K. Mericle, then paid kickbacks to the judges for every child sent they sentanced to either facility. Holy. Christ. What won't some evil scumbags do for money??
So...this young man is given a harsher than the norm sentance and misses his senior year in high school. He emerges bitter and depressed...eventually commiting suicide at the age of 23. His mother, obviously distraught over what happened to her son, shows up at the courthouse to see the man she blames for her son's loss frog marched away to jail...except that he was allowed to go home (something he didn't allow her son to do) to appeal his verdict in the comfort of his own home. Her rage is bone chilling...I'm putting a link to the NBC story here for you all to see (if you haven't already). Sorry, I just can't figure out how to make the video show up in this diary!:
I think this story is a really frightening example of what can happen when our governments sell us out to make a buck...can you imagine something like this happening if the juvenile facility was a county run facility with no opportunity for kickbacks to be paid? Maybe I'm just naive...probably am...but I can't see this happening if the facilities weren't private with a profit to make. Am I wrong?
This story stuck with me all day...it's upset me that much that such evil is able to exert so much influence from a position of great authority and trust. What the hell is wrong with this country???
Apologies if this has been diaried before...I tried to look for a diary, but didn't find one. I think it's too important an issue and story to ignore...even if we're all rightly concerned about Wisconsin, etc. I think this story is another example of the kind of 3rd world corrupt, pocket lining society that the Republican Party would like to force on the entire country. Banana Republic indeed...