Judy Lorah-Fisher is Lou’s second of three guests for this broadcast. Judy describes her key role in bringing the Kids for Cash scandal to light. After her niece Amanda was placed in a juvenile detention center she discovered that hundreds of other children were being placed absent criminal offenses. Judy approached then-state representative John Yudichak in 2007 with a list of 153 Nanticoke youths from her hometown who had been stripped from their families, just as Amanda had been. Judy’s starting the whole process over again concerning Custody for Cash, visiting now-Senator Yudichak’s Harrisburg office on Monday with a few others to inform him of the injustices occurring in the realm of Family Court and child custody.
But as she performed her own research Fisher learned a tragic truth about how deep the rabbit hole of corruption really extended. “Over 3,000 kids were incarcerated during Kids for Cash, and I’m going to tell you how they did it: they picked all of the low-income students who were on the school’s free student lunch program. They knew they couldn’t afford attorneys before they ever even went into court.”
The third in a series of local judicial reform rallies, the “Occupy for Justice” event of July 17 drew participants to the south-side, main steps of the Luzerne County Courthouse. Pennsylvania District Eleven Congressional candidate Andy Ostrowski was the featured speaker, as he worked in conjunction with civil rights icon Jesse Epps and his America Rebirth Tour (A.R.T.) team to make the gathering a reality.
In a phone interview that week, Browning clarified that the county intends to transfer all files to an electronic database; however, that program is “in its infancy,” he said. Browning further explained that while some files are shredded “in-house,” that decision depends on the size of the file and the amount of shredding required. According to Browning, all files are stored in a 1,000-square-foot room in the CYS office on the 4th floor of the Spruce Street Annex building. He also stated that nothing is to be shredded before it reaches the five-year storage mark.
Longtime judicial reform advocate Ron Shegda, of Northampton County, joined Libertarian Lou and Tea Party Mike on a February Sanity Check radio show broadcast. Here are some of his comments.
As the Custody for Cash saga continues and new information is brought forth, the Independent Gazette has discovered yet another issue worth investigating within the family court system. According to several sources, docket listings — and even entire dockets — are often incomplete or inaccurate. Items often vanish from the record, and even the records themselves seem to disappear.
Videos of some of the powerful presentations made at the Protecting Families in Memory of Senator Nancy Schaefer Rally for Judicial Reform and Social Justice.
In light of published reports in local papers, national rulings taking place in family courts throughout the country, the recent film release of Kids for Cash, and the April 16 sentencing of admitted felon and former Lackawanna County Guardian Ad Litem Danielle Ross to 12 months in prison, the time is now to raise awareness of the need for judicial reform, according to rally co-organizer, Tara Koval.
A stream of testimonials continues to flow into the Independent Gazette from all over Pennsylvania and beyond regarding the abuse of judicial power rampant in family courts. In addition to verbal threats and intimidation, multiple sources claim the courts are issuing gag orders to guarantee silence in custody cases involving the physical and sexual abuse of children. Judges are forbidding both litigants and non-litigants alike from speaking not only to media, but even to their own family members.