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In re Ciavarella

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Court of Judicial Discipline

October 7, 2014

IN RE: Mark A. Ciavarella, Former Judge Court of Common Pleas Luzerne County

BEFORE: Honorable John R. Cellucci, P.J., Honorable Timothy F. McCune, Honorable Robert J. Colville, Honorable Cannella Mullen, Honorable Jack A. Panella, Honorable Charles A. Clement, Jr.

OPINION

PANELLA, JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

The Judicial Conduct Board (" Board" ) filed a Complaint with this Court on December 21, 2011, against Former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella (" Respondent" ). The Complaint is based on Respondent's conduct and felony convictions for participating in a criminal conspiracy with Former Judge Michael Conahan while the two served as judges of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Among other

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criminal acts, they profited by taking bribes, kickbacks, extortionate payments, and other types of payoffs, and then attempted, by way of a number of schemes, to hide their illegal activities. The Board has charged that Respondent's conduct and multiple felony convictions subject him to discipline under Article V, § 18(d)(1) of the Pennsylvania Constitution, This conduct and the convictions occasioned by it constitute:

1. convictions of felonies, a violation of Article V, § 18(d)(1)[1] of the Pennsylvania Constitution;
2. convictions of infamous crimes, a violation of Article V, § 18(d)(1) of the Pennsylvania Constitution;
3. conduct which brings the judicial office into disrepute, a violation of Article V, § 18(d)(1) of the Pennsylvania Constitution;
4. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, a violation of Article V, § 18(d)(1) of the Pennsylvania Constitution; and
5. violations of Article V, § 17(b)[2] of the Pennsylvania Constitution by virtue of his convictions of federal criminal statutes including, but not limited to, 18 U.S.C. § § 1961 (Racketeering), 1962(d) (Racketeering Conspiracy), 1956(h) and (Money Laundering Conspiracy).

II. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The Judicial Conduct Board is empowered by Article V, § 18 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to file formal charges alleging ethical misconduct on the part of judges, justices or magisterial district judges and to present the case in support of the formal charges before the Court of Judicial Discipline.

2. Respondent, a former trial judge, commenced service on January 1, 1996. Respondent was elected as President Judge and assumed the duties of President Judge in January 2006. He resigned from judicial service on March 16, 2009, while the federal criminal case was pending against him at U.S. v. Conahan, et al, 3:09-CR-00272-EMK-2.[3]

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3. On September 9, 2009, Respondent was indicted by a federal grand jury in the case of U.S. v. Conahan, et al, 3:09-CR-00272-EMK-2, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. On September 29, 2010, a superseding Indictment was ...


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