Custody for Cash: A plea for help, when there is no place else to turn

This is the first in what will be a series of reports by the Independent Gazette chronicling the judicial systems and child custody practices of Lackawanna, Luzerne, and surrounding counties. Through exclusive Lackawanna County interviews obtained by the Gazette, a picture will emerge of a legal — not justice — system run amok, fueled by greed, kept intact through intimidation, and veiled in secrecy, a complex web in which the abuse of power is rampant, and lawyers routinely close their eyes to misconduct for fear of being blackballed — and losing their homes and practices should they dare to speak out. This is a fear of being severed from the “money feeding tube,” as one court insider observed.

Within the culture of the court systems of Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties jurisprudence victims, court officers, police, lawyers, and civil employees will only come forward under anonymity out of concern of retribution from the powerful and well-connected. Reports are emerging of bizarre behavior unbecoming of judges, constituting clear violations of the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct and kept under wraps lest swift and damaging retaliation befall the whistleblower. These whistleblowers describe judges throwing objects from the bench in fits of rage and making decisions in street clothes before receiving any actual evidence or testimony. Theirs is a legal system run afoul, where justice is often based not on facts, but on “who you know,” and delivered only to the well-connected.

In the aftermath of the “Kids for Cash” scandal the courthouse climate seems to have remained similar in Lackawanna County to that which fostered the Luzerne County travesty. Behavioral patterns appear to coincide, given surfacing claims that individual lives and the families associated with them have been wrecked by an over-aggressive, power hungry, and greed-filled judiciary.

Read the rest at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Independent Gazette.