The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted new rules for the state’s juvenile courts in response to the despicable “kids for cash” scandal that led to federal convictions for two Luzerne County judges. The new rules, which were based on recommendations from the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, include as follows:
- Limiting the use of restraints on a juvenile in the courtroom;
- Requiring juveniles to have an attorney present during court proceedings;
- Establishing an extensive question-and-answer process with the judge before a juvenile can enter a plea agreement; and
- Creating an expedited appeal process when a juvenile is removed from his or her home as a sentence.
The new rules are a direct response to the “kids for cash” scandal, in which two Luzerne County judges had accepted more than $2.5 million in kickbacks from private juvenile facilities from 2003 to 2008. The judges had removed some 2,500 juveniles from their homes for minor offenses and sent them to juvenile facilities in exchange for money.
To speak with an Allegheny County juvenile law attorney, call Spivak Law Firm at (12) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.