Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC), reacting to the federal jury’s recent verdict in the trial of former Luzerne County judge Mark Ciavarella, urged the public to “Take back our courthouses.”
Executive Director Lynn A. Marks explained that “Courthouses belong to the people. Judges, court staff, and attorneys are there to serve the system, not to manipulate it for personal gain.” Tragically, this fundamental proposition was completely turned upside down in Luzerne County.
Deputy Director Shira Goodman explained that the public must now act to ensure that the lessons from the Luzerne County scandal will resonate across the Commonwealth. “It reminds us all of our own responsibility for our institutions of government and teaches that when something looks off, we must ask questions.”
PMC encourages the people of Pennsylvania to continue to question how this scandal was allowed to be perpetrated, and how safeguards in the justice system failed to prevent, or at least catch the problems, before the rights of innumerable children and their families were violated. It is time to implement changes that will forestall such abuses of power in the future. PMC urges that “We, the public, must call on our leaders in the Governor’s office, the legislature and the Supreme Court to make sure this happens.”
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to promote the reform of Pennsylvania’s judicial system. www.pmconline.org.