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The juveniles who were involved in the "Kids for Cash" scandal got an unexpected surprise. Timesleader reports that Senior Berks County Judge Arthur Grim announced that juveniles that still owe restitution will have their cases dismissed and that they will not have to pay the remainder of any restitution they were previously ordered to pay.
This announcement comes at the heels of an announcement by Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll who said that she would not retry any of the cases under review after the "Kids for Cash" scandal.
The scandal, which we wrote about in FindLaw's Common Law Blog, involves two senior juvenile court judges in a Pennsylvania county have been charged in a kickback scheme which may have resulted in hundreds of juveniles being wrongfully sent to detention centers for minor offenses. The judges both resigned after accusations that they accepted over $2.6 million dollars in bribes from private detention centers to send juvenile delinquents to their centers.
As a result of the scandal, Judge Grim dismissed the juvenile cases with prejudice. This is the least that the court can do considering that the juveniles could not really sue the judges. We wrote about how the judges were granted judicial immunity in FindLaw's Injured Blog. Ms. Musto Carroll told the Timesleader: "The needs of these children are being met. We are closing a chapter on our juvenile justice system that I think everyone will agree was the worst in our county's history."
The judge ordered that while the juveniles did not have to pay the remainder of their restitution, victims that received previous restitution payments do not need to repay the amount that they have received. It was all part of an effort for a community to move beyond the scandal. Judge Grim was quoted by the Timesleader as saying, "We have balanced and restored justice."