Federal prosecutors have responded to the judicial bias arguments in the case of Mark Ciavarella.
Ciavarella is calling for a new trial and alleging judicial bias by U.S. District Court Judge Edwin Kosik in a case involving political corruption, reports the Luzerne County Citizen’s Voice. He is alleging that the district judge expressed bias against him and as such, that his case was prejudiced.
Mark Ciavarella, a former Luzerne County judge, was convicted in 2011 in the juvenile prison scandal. He allegedly received $1 million from Robert Mericle, the builder of two juvenile detention facilities. As quid pro quo for the bribe, Ciavarella funneled youth into the facility, sometimes for minor infractions.
The case for a new trial is before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors submitted a 75-page brief against Judge Kosik’s removal, reports the Times Leader.
While Judge Kosik apparently made statements against Ciavarella, prosecutors argued that these statements were mild, at worst, exhibiting a tone of “mild dissatisfaction.”
Ciavarella’s attorneys argued, however, that Judge Kosik demonstrated bias when responding to letters written by people asking for stiff sentencing.
In response to the defense’s arguments, prosecutors say that a judge’s expressions of impatience or dissatisfaction do not amount to a level sufficient to establish bias.
There is no word yet as to whether the Third Circuit will decide the matter on the briefs or whether there will be oral arguments in this case.
Ciavarella is serving a 28-year prison sentence. Another former judge, Michael Conahan, is serving 17 1/2 years in prison in the same case.