Former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella, currently serving a 28-year sentence for his role in the "kids-for-cash" scandal, is seeking to invoke in his bid for freedom the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it harder for public officials to be prosecuted for bribery.
The decision in McDonnell v. United States, in which the high court overturned former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell's bribery conviction, was handed down while Ciavarella was in his fifth year of federal incarceration. The changes that McDonnell brought to prosecuting bribery cases could affect his case, the ex-Luzerne County judge claimed in court papers.
McDonnell narrowed the definition of an "official act" done for payment or a favor. Ciavarella was convicted of accepting $2.8 million in kickbacks, along with fellow Judge Michael Conahan, from the builder and former co-owner of a private juvenile detention facility. Ciavarella was sent to prison in 2011.
Read more in the Legal Intelligencer.
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