Mark "Mr. Zero Tolerance" Ciavarella Gets Rich on Children's Tears
Judge Mark Ciavarella earned his nickname, "Mr. Zero Tolerance," because he was a firm believer in giving harsh sentences to juvenile delinquents, even if all they did was slap a friend who slapped them first or take their mom's car for a joyride. And if he made himself disgustingly (and illegally) rich while doing so, well, that was just the icing on top of a delicious cake made from the suffering of thousands of kids.
We were going to lable this NSFW until we realized it wasn't an actual penis.
While sitting on the bench as a juvenile court judge in Luzerne County, PA, Ciavarella personally sent thousands of children to a local detention center. One 10-year-old girl was sentenced to one degrading, horrifying month in the center for accidentally setting her house on fire while playing with a lighter, even though the landlord didn't want to press charges. An 11-year-old got nearly two years for taking out his mother's car and driving it over a curb (she only reported it because of the insurance), and a 14-year-old got three months for making fun of a teacher on MySpace. Most of these kids didn't have lawyers, and their hearings often lasted less than two minutes.
Via ABC News
"They said 'MySpace' and I was like, 'Ugh, guilty.'"
Judge Ciavarella always claimed he was doing this for the good of the kids, but it turns out that "kids" was just a code word for the condo in Florida that he bought thanks to those sentences. You see, Ciavarella had a special arrangement with the owners of the private detention center he sent all these kids to: For each kid that ended up there, he would receive a generous kickback from the facility, which in time would accrue to upwards of a million dollars.
This went on for years. At some point he had to look at himself in the mirror and wonder if life was just an '80s movie, and he was the main villain.