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Pa. High Court Orders Youth Records Cleared

SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday authorized a special master to review and possibly expunge the records of hundreds of juvenile offenders sentenced by two state judges who pleaded guilty to taking $2.6 million in kickbacks for sending youth offenders to privately run detention centers.

Luzerne County Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan pleaded guilty in February to accepting the money in exchange for placing juvenile offenders in detention centers run by PA Child Care and affiliate Western PA Child Care. The judges were charged on Jan. 26.

The state high court authorized the special master to vacate judgments and expunge records where necessary.

"The court's primary concern remains with identifying and correcting miscarriages of justice in the underlying criminal consent decrees and adjudications as quickly as possible," the ruling states.

The justices said the master will review the cases of the juveniles sentenced by Ciavarella and Conahan.

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