One of the lessons that should have been learned, at least locally with the “Kids for Cash” scandal, was that We, the People, cannot and should not exhibit blind confidence in what is happening in our courts. Yes, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) issued a review following the Kids for Cash scandal, offering 51 recommendations concerning the family court/guardian ad litem (GAL) system in a glowing 112-page document, letting Us, the People, know that the errors of the courts were on their way to being remedied. It is a review that praised the efforts of one Judge Chester Harhut as well as Attorney Danielle Ross, the former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem (GAL) who pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and is currently serving jail time.
Tag Archives: Kids for Cash
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.”
Jurisprudence victims, court officers, police, lawyers, and civil employees will often come forward only under the protective cloak of anonymity, out of concern of retribution directed at themselves and their families from the powerful and well connected. Reports of bizarre behavior unbecoming of judges are kept under wraps, lest swift and damaging retaliation befall the whistleblower. Theirs is a legal system run afoul, where justice is often based not on facts, but on “who you know,” and delivered only to a select few, it would seem.
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.