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Settlement reached for former juvenile offenders

After claiming that their rights were violated by the 'kids-for-cash' case, 1,066 former defendants from Luzerne County Juvenile Court and their parents will split $12.2 million. The settlement is part of a class-action suit against a developer who paid off two judges to place convicted juvenile offenders in for-profit detention center that his firm built.

The former juvenile offenders involved in the suit will be eligible for additional funds on top of the $5,000 each they will received based on their age at the time they were sentenced, the time spent in these centers, and the charges they faced. The parents are receiving fund to compensate their costs on fines and fees stemming from one of these disgraced judges.

This scheme, referred to as 'cash-for-kids' due to the schematics of how the plan unfolded, has resulted in justice for the juveniles who were used to make a profit. The whole situation presents a concern that many parents may have if their children are in trouble with the law: will they be treated fairly and justly? Unfortunately, corruption within the justice system does occur, as this case shows, and so the courts should be viewed with healthy suspicion, and any concerns about corruption should be reported immediately.

Juvenile defense attorneys are also concerned about the just treatment of their clients. Facing criminal charges can be a frightening thing for anyone, but juveniles especially may be intimidated easily by the system. Having a defense attorney who is experienced in juvenile cases can be an irreplaceable resource to defend the rights of the accused.

Source: The Times-Tribune, "Former juvenile offenders, parents would split $12.2 million in Mericle settlement," Dave Janoski, Nov. 20, 2012

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