While the justice system is often portrayed as an infallible institution free of flaws or shortcomings, poor ethics and corruption exist on both sides of the bench. Below is a list of some of the most recent shocking cases involving judicial corruption in the United States.
Though prosecutor Armando Villalobos faces corruption charges in the indictment, conviction, and eventual escape of Amit Livingston, presiding judge Abel Limas is at the heart of this terrible scheme. While Villalobos decreed a 23-year prison sentence for Livingston in the murder of a local girl, the incarcerated escaped quickly and easily with help from the bench. Limas showed just how deep corruption can run, as he allegedly claimed at least $257,000 during the entire process. Recently, Limas was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the case.
Bensonetta Tipton Lane
This member of the bench proved that occasionally, celebreties can penetrate the aura of credibility citizens expect from their judges. Bensonetta Tipton Lane, the judge who presided over the custody case of famous singer and dancer Usher, shocked the court and the musician’s ex-wife, Tameka Raymond, when she ruled in Usher’s favor. It didn’t take long for Raymond’s attorney, Lisa West, to begin questioning the outcome of the case, leading her to make a shocking discovery that highlighted the questionable relationship between Lane and Usher’s celebrity attorney, who apparently made a campaign donation to help keep Lane on the bench.
Unbelievably, because Georgia law allows for attorneys to contribute to such campaigns, Lane’s decision was ultimately viewed as acceptable and official.
The entire population of Pennsylvania, as well as most of the rest of the United States, was shocked to learn about the bizarrely corrupt actions of Mark Ciavarella. Ciavarella, a former judge who presided in Luzerne County, was indicted for running a criminal program in which he would jail juvenile individuals at various detention centers in exchange for cash kickbacks from other authorities. Once these youths were sent to these centers, they were often mistreated and abused, with some even being shackled and chained to furniture for days at a time.
While this racket went on for some time, a woman named Amy Swartley eventually brought the scheme to light. Swartley’s 14-year-old son was one of those taken away by the police. It was believed that Ciavarella, along with fellow Luzerne County senior judge Michael Conahan, received more than $2.6 million over the duration of their actions.
Though both judges profited from the kickbacks, after being caught for their criminal activities, they were indicted, convicted, and sentenced to 87 months in prison each.
Corruption on the Bench
While the courtroom is intended to be an area free of bias, it is often rife with examples of judicial corruption. And though many that sit on the bench are able to remain impartial, the judges profiled above serve as shameful examples of the temptation powerful officials have to engage in corruption.
This article was written by Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who hopes to help you understand the law better. He writes this on behalf of EZ Bail Bonds, your number one choice when looking for a bail bond in Brazoria County. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!