Builder in 'kids for cash' scandal to be sentenced

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A developer at the center of one of the biggest judicial scandals in U.S. history is scheduled to be sentenced in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Federal prosecutors say two Luzerne County judges took $2.1 million in kickbacks from Robert Mericle, builder of a pair of for-profit youth detention centers. Former Judges Mark Ciavarella (shiv-uh-REL'-uh) Jr. and Michael Conahan are serving lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.

Mericle pleaded guilty to concealing a felony. He faces eight to 14 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but could receive less based on his testimony against Ciavarella. Mericle will be sentenced by a federal judge in Scranton on Friday.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he routinely trampled on juvenile offenders' civil rights.

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