Corrupt Judges Sent Kid Who Made Spoof MySpace Pages To Detention... For Profit

from the wow dept

We've covered a few different cases involving students suspended from school for creating fake social networking profiles of teachers or school administrators. There was even one time we wrote about a principal taking a student to court over a fake MySpace profile (he lost). However, we hadn't heard of kids actually being sent to juvenile detention centers for such antics... until now. An anonymous reader sends in a story from a week ago that highlights how Hillary Transue was given three months in a detention center for setting up a MySpace profile mocking an assistant principal. The sentence surprised pretty much everyone -- as she was a first time "offender," a "stellar student" and the "crime" was pretty minor. But the story is getting attention because it's an example of how some corrupt judges in Pennsylvania were making millions of dollars from kickbacks from certain juvenile detention centers to sentence as many kids as possible to those centers. The story is rather horrifying. The two judges in question have pleaded guilty and will serve 87 months in jail.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    There's not much more deserving of contempt than a corrupt Judge.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    87 months for destroying a teens life for profit?

    Should be more like 87 years! and 2.5 Mil to the family!

     

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  3.  
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    Hulser, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    Years

    "The two judges in question have pleaded guilty and will serve 87 months in jail."

    You meant 87 years, right?

     

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  4.  
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    jilocasin0, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    That's what you get adding profit to criminal justice.

    That just goes to show you what happens when you add a "for profit" element into the criminal justice system.

    When jails were run by the state, it cost money to incarcerate people. Now that jails are run by private companies, you've got the "for profit" middle men who now have the incentive to game the system. More criminals = more profit (and more cost to the tax payers, but in the age of $500 toilet seats......).

    Incarceration should be the solution of last recourse and no one should be using it as a profit center.

    jilocasin.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Well...

    A little over 7 years for the Judges to receive a ... more proper payment... from other inmates...

     

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  6.  
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    interval, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Extremely horrifying story. However, I think 7 years plus an irrevocable blacklist from judgeship and even to practice law (I can't believe that any state bar would allow some one like these two to come back to the fold) is just. The only bad thing is you know these two idiots won't get the typical treatment while in the clink. Deputies will probably bend over backwards to keep them safe and comfortable during their stay.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    Technically speaking, it will be prison. Any time above one year is prison sentencing. The US differentiates between jail and prison, unlike our counterparts across the pond.

     

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  8.  
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    Jason Still, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    This is yet another story that makes me desperately wish I could afford law school. There seem to be far too few lawyers and judges who genuinely care about honor, justice, and integrity (not to mention common sense), while far too many care only about their pocketbooks and their political careers.

     

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  9.  
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    Pitabred, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    87 months? How about something equitable

    How about they serve the same amount of time, consecutively, as the people they sentenced to those juvenile prisons? I think that certainly sounds fair... they will have the same thing taken from them that they took from other people.

     

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  10.  
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    BillDivX, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    The bright side of this story...

    At least now we know what '???' is:

    1) lock up innocent children for minor offenses

    2) Receive kickbacks from corrupt detention officials

    3) Profit!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    IANAL, but wouldn't this mean every case they presided over would have to be redone?

     

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  12.  
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    interval, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    Yow, good question.

     

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  13.  
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    DueDoe, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    I hope all the kids sue em'.

    "“In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,” said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.""

     

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  14.  
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    Sos, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    So you mean gaol...

     

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    hegemon13, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: That's what you get adding profit to criminal justice.

    And when they were run by the state, the costs were far higher.

    Any private industry can be used for ill. That is why we have laws against it, under which these judges were prosecuted. Hopefully, their sentencing does not preclude the families from suing both the judges and the state for damages. What a couple of jerks.

    For those saying it should be 87 years: Keep in mind that the prison time is only the beginning. 87 months is over 7 years of detention in prison, as a JUDGE. You think they are going to have a fun time there? They likely PUT many of the other prisoners there. Then, when they do get out, they have no careers. And the damages in civil suits are likely to be enormous. 87 months is enough, considering some people don't get much more than that for murder. Don't think I feel sorry for them. I just think the 87 year suggestion is a bit excessive.

     

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  16.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: That's what you get adding profit to criminal justice.

    As a matter of fact they probably will have a good time in there. For one, they don't put cops, judges, etc. in general population along with all the other prisoners. They're in a nice protected cell segregated from everyone.

    They do deserve 87 years because they've already done a lifetime of damage to the youngsters, some of which will relive that damage for the rest of their lives, some in prison. And those kids learned the hard way that the system is stacked against you so why try to do good in the first place?

     

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  17.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    Not exactly. They're likely to spend most of the time in a county jail because they spend a lot of time "processing" prisoners and it takes a while to get them into the system. I have first hand experience in this, trust me.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 3:12pm

    The people supplying the kick back need to be in jail along with the judges. If there is enough evidence to convict the judges, how is there not enough to charge/convict the executives of the centers?

    I wonder why people distrust businessmen and government?

     

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  19.  
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    SuperSparky, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Where much is given, much is expected...

    If judges, politicians, police, etc. are expected to be given a certain amount of respect and authority, and special laws to raise the punishments of those that commit crimes against them, then one must balance that with far more severe punishments for those that are corrupt and use their authority for gain or criminal activity.

    For example:

    Assault a citizen, you spend a month or two in jail, pay a fine, and possibly get sued.
    Assault a cop or judge, you spend years in jail, pay a fine and get sued.
    If a judge or cop assault's an innocent (key here) victim, then they should spend years in jail, pay a fine, and get sued.

    This should be the norm. Those in authority require policing just like the rest of us.

     

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  20.  
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    You never know, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    To serve and protect.........right..........
    You ask me, that pension the judges were to get, give it to the kids along with 2.6 mil from their assets. I know, money won’t make the kids’ problems go away but if the court pays for their education and wipes their record at least the kids will have a chance.

     

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  21.  
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    Rex Karz, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    87 months? Not enough

    Let's see: Abuse of office. Kidnapping under color of authority. Embezelment. Fraud.

    The abuse of office should be a capital offence by itself. Now add the kidnapping under color of authority, and torture unto death actually begins to look good. ... Whadda ya mean, "Unconstitutional"? We've (the US government. That's us, folks.) done it already. It's legal. Right?

    Rex
    P.S. [for the humor impaired] ... just kidding.

     

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  22.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 18th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    87?

    These judges should be sentenced to serve *every day* that they forced those kids to serve.

     

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  23.  
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    Ed Woychowsky, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    Re:

    This has been occurring since 2003, it is more like 5,000 teens.

     

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  24.  
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    student, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: That's what you get adding profit to criminal justice.

    but mostly innocent kids (over 5000) are still in detention centers right now. they say they were sending minor offense, first time offenders. now forever these kids have a criminal record. plus being in a place like that, especially being put there unjustly has to change you. 7 years is fine, but i hope the kids sue him for the money they need for the psychiatrists they see,lost time in schools (real ones not "class time" at juvie), and the jobs they don't get because of a criminal record.
    (sorry about typos)

     

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  25.  
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    Mike, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    just the tip of the iceberg...

    This happens EVERYWHERE in the US. The sad thing is, the private jails these kids are going to are young offender institutions which, believe it or not are MORE dangerous and violent than the adult couterparts. Rape, beatings and degradation are par for the course, so once these kids get out they will be traumatized for life. For the guy claiming 87 yrs is exessive, I would say DEATH is the best punishment for a corrupt judge, just to keep them all in line. They have already ruined the lives of many thousands of kids, they should forfeit there own immediately. (I volunteer to carry out sentence!)

     

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  26.  
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    Dean Fowler, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    Capitalism = Privatisation = Corruption

    This is what happens when the state allows business to take over some of its responsibilities. The bottom line is not always the most important thing. I hope these 5000 kids sue not just the judges, but also the detention centre for all they are worth.

    I also hope that the judges end up in the general prison population instead of some cushy, segregated prison. Justice needs to be seen to be done.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 8:10pm

    All their rulings are now suspect

    Ok, so I didn't read the article (NYTimes)
    Do all the rulings made by these Judges get review and possible retrial / re-sentencing?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 10:17pm

    Mike, I think you forgot to mention the part where the parents of the sentenced children get to blow the asshole's head off with a Colt 45.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 12:07am

    Re: All their rulings are now suspect

    From the article, they have assigned another judge to do this.

    Also, one of the first steps in the scheme was to rule that the county-run prison facility needs to be shut down in favor of the private detention center.

    The detention center is still under investigation.

    The 87 months was a result of the plea agreement. It appears that they wanted a quick guilty plea.

     

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  30.  
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    Fentex, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 12:30am

    That's one of the things that first occurred to me on reading about this a week or two ago, it was obviously an intolerable injustice from the first sentencing and it would have been quite proper for the parents, in defence of their children, to resist authorities with arms.

    But of course all that would happen then is the cops would end up killing everyone resisting.

    87 months is too little (especially since they ae bound to get every consideration for good behaviour and early parole). 87 years would be more appropriate - they have potentially devastated many lives.

    Although I expect the childrens convictions will be quashed the trauma, lost opportunities, disenchantment, damaging conditioning, probable victimisation and who knows what else will haunt most for their lives.

    Not only did the stae fail them when it allowed it's powers to be usurped for private gain and assault but now it agains fails in its reponsibility for enforcing accountability.

    One imagines some of these judges, having pleaded guilty promptly, did so as a plea bargain for information that will convict their purchasers.

    However, were I they D.A they dealt with, that might have sufficed to bargain down life without parole to just life.

    Not a pathetic 87 months probably paroled after, what, about four years?

     

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  31.  
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    Merc, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    RE: Capitalism = Privatisation = Corruption

    "This is what happens when the state allows business to take over some of its responsibilities."

    Beautiful.. are you nuts? The JUDGES were not employed by those companies, they represented the STATE. They did not have to participate. Corruption is a two-way street so don't give me that 'capitalism is bad' dribble. If these sh*tbags had any ethics and backbone they would have brought the centers under investigation themselves. Instead they decided to line their own pockets. This isn't about capitalism and privatising institutions, its about corrupt appointed officials. This crap goes on everyday at all levels of government. Some will get caught, some won't. Just the way it is.

     

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  32.  
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    T, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    RE: RE: Capitalism = Privatisation = Corruption

    If the prisons were state-run, there would have been no financial incentives offered.

    While it is the responsibility of all governments to recognize that corruption will occur regardless of the system, it is also their responsibility to remove possible incentives.

    "This crap goes on everyday at all levels of government."

    Why is this, and why should it be acceptable? It's not simply a matter of oversight.

     

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  33.  
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    Alias (profile), Feb 19th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Years

    >>87 months

    BTW, that's FEDERAL time. There will be no time off for good behavior or parole hearings. Yep, 7 and 1/4 years in a Federal Pen. With Federal Criminals. Tee Hee! :)

    My question: So, will all of the juveniles that were sentenced to time in the detention center have their cases reviewed since the judge was obviously predisposed to sentencing them there? Especially Hillary?

     

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  34.  
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    alawyer, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 1:45pm

    detention for cash

    The crime was not minor at all. It was NOT a crime. Making a parody of someone on MYSPACE is protected speech, regardless of the age of the accused. Imagine if it became a crime to do a parody of someone. The fact that it is on a computer does not make the parody a crime. The case was about false arrest, and overly vague statute, a judge who wanted to make an example of a kid, and simple corruption. The vice principal who brought the charges should be prevented from working with children in the future.

     

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  35.  
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    alawyer, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    BTW-

    Someone on this site mentioned the corruptability of lawyers. They are no better or worse than anyone else. It was lawyers who uncovered these corrupt judges and exposed them to the justice system. These judges are monsters and they should be charged with child abuse for each case handled, which should bring life imprisonment. They were serial child abusers. If you google and read about these cases, you will find that many of the kids had their lives destroyed. It really goes to the core of the problems with so-called juvenile justice system. It has become a punitive wasteland of brutality and abuse. Kids are arrested on minor, penny ante garbage offenses that once brought a scolding. The ACLU calls it the school to prison pipeline. So-called school resource officers arrest kids in schools now because educators are too lazy to discipline - they OVER discipline kids and use insane zero tolerance policies that do nothing but wreck kids. A whole generation is being victimized by get tough laws. And in the Commonwealth of PA where this case took place, they have the most children arrested at 13 sentenced to life without parole. Second to them is Florida, where we have seen internet images of children AGED FIVE being removed from school in handcuffs for throwing temper tantrums. This past week in Wisconsin, a 14 year old was busted for texting in school and in several states around the nation, kids as young as 12 and 13 are being labled sex offenders for life because they send dirty pictures of their friends or themselves via cell phone. This case is the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of kids locked up who do not belong in jail. There are lives being destroyed every day so that politically minded DAs can make names and careers for them themselves prosecuting and destroying kids. These judges were just caught at something a little more flagrant.

     

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  36.  
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    Merc, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re: RE: RE: Capitalism = Privatisation = Corruption

    Corruption exist in state run systems, don't think for a second it doesn't. The form is the only difference. You are not going to remove all the incentives to cheat a system. Its just not possible.

    I don't believe it should be accepted or tolerated. I think in reality those in positions of power often DO think themselves above the law though. These guys were caught and removed, so the system worked, but it took someone willing to stand up and say something for it to work.

    There isn't a system out there in whatever form that isn't susceptible to be gamed for the purpose of self-advancement. There will always be liars, crooks, cheats and those that game the system on the periphery in ANY type of society. We can't know the character of every man appointed over us. But we can damned sure hold them accountable. Captialist or Socialist, doesn't matter, so don't lay blame on the system, but on the people that use it to wreck the lives of others.

     

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  37.  
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    Les, Feb 22nd, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: That's what you get adding profit to criminal justice.

    I agree 100%. This is the perfect example why government services should not be turned into for profit businesses.

     

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  38.  
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    Janice Hermann, Feb 24th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

    Corrupt Judges

    Come to Michigan. Social Security Entitlements, in the form
    of Title IVD, Title IVE, etc. run the court system, and the courts dance to the feds tune. The use of federal money for state programs leads to corruption. The law is manipulated for monetary gain.

     

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  39.  
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    Luzerne County resident, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 12:13pm

    Corrupt Judges

    This girl isn't the only teen who was seriously wronged by these judges. The FBI is still investigating, but there are HUNDREDS of teens wrongly sentenced by these dirty judges. More will come out in the media but you can find more and more information DAILY about this HUGE mess as it unfolds (which also involves other public officials, bribes, embezzlement, falsified documents, organized crime, and more), you can read the local news at this link: http://www.citizensvoice.com/

     

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  40.  
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    rollin' like a big shot. xp, Oct 13th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    Haha, I'd say that that's exactly what they deserve!

     

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  41.  
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    Eric, Nov 1st, 2009 @ 11:54am

    How about the whole of the system being corrupt everywhere?

    I just got done disbarring a corrupt attorney,and expected him to be charged criminally, but then the word came back that while he was being investigated for 19 counts of theft of client funds, the statute of limitations had run out, WTF? I screamed bloody murder and the powers that be knew I had connections with the press, and local Television, and then then quickly found a way to haul him up on charges so now I have to appear before a Grand Jury to indict him and finally hit him with the Felonies he so rightly deserves. I want to start a website that would go nation wide to report and collect dirt on crooked cops, lawyers, and Judges, in every state and county and city, people could post links to articles about these slime, and prove once and for all just how unjust the system really is, anyone know if this is already being done? A data base such as this would be valuable in the publics interests.

     

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