Saturday, November 09, 2013

Just Yell Kids for Cash

Longtime local political consultant/media guy Ed Mitchell has a blog on tumblr. That's probably not the best best platform if you want to reach a wide audience. I'm sure that Ed isn't aware that I did some volunteer work for him when he ran for Congress in 1976 with the slogan President Carter/Congressman Mitchell. Joe McDade won big in that one.

NEPA McCarthyism

In the 1950s there was a wing of the Republican Party that terrorized American politics by labeling political enemies Communists through guilt by association. It was named McCarthyism after it’s main practitioner, Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin.

Recently we’ve seen shades of a new McCarthyism in Northeastern Pennsylvania campaigns through guilt by association with the “Kids for Cash” judges who are serving prison terms for their corrupt practices.

It started by blaming anyone who served on the Luzerne County courts or in the district attorney’s office while the scandal took place. “How could they not know it was happening?” was the question asked.

The one who suffered most publicly over these charges in her reelection fight two years ago was former DA, Jackie Musto Carroll.

This year, Atty. Jerry Mecadon ran for District Judge. He was attacked by his opponent for hiring me to work for him because 20 years ago I helped elect the judges who later turned corrupt.
Fact is, none of the sitting judges on the current court, Jackie Carroll, Jerry Mecadon or I had any clue of the no good Michael Conahan or Mark Ciaverella were up to. They didn’t consult with any of us.

But Jerry Mecadon’s opponent’s campaign employed the new NEPA McCarthyism and tried to link him to the scandal.

I don’t know if it worked. We don’t have exit polls for local races. I suspect the fact that Alexandra Kokura had the Democratic nomination and voter registration edge is why Mecadon lost.
The “Kids for Cash” scandal was a terrible chapter in Luzerne County judicial history. But it shouldn’t be wrongly exploited by any individual or political party for electoral gain. These were the crimes of a few bad men, not an entire system.

Hopefully, voters in the future won’t be fooled by innuendo or guilt by association either. We should believe people are innocent if they’re not proven guilty.


Anonymous said...

Mecadon would have been a fantastic DJ. Kokura is kind of a bitch. Oh well. It's just traffic ticket court anyway, the lowest of the rungs, in Shitston, PA.

Anonymous said...

As a county employee I absolutely agree with you. 99.99% of us work hard, honestly, and faithfully to serve our fellow citizen taxpayers, and yet we as a group are perceived as totally responsible for the acts of a few. We are disgusted that we must bear the brunt of the public's anger, but we will continue to serve with honesty and integrity, in spite of the the unfair and outlandish ravings of the vocal minority, who have nothing better to do with their time than slander their fellow man.

Anonymous said...

Musto-Carrol should have been bounced. How could 2,000 kids go before a judge without representation and she didn't utter a peep?

Stephen Albert said...

There was (and probably still is...) far too much chumminess going on in the court house. That noted, just being associated with county government does not, in my mind, create guilt by association.

HOWEVER, anyone who was connected with that courtroom and did nothing to intervene in the evil $hit going on deserves the guilt by association tag. For example, how could a sitting DA NOT KNOW that kids were in court without the benefit of legal representation or NOT have heard about the numerous incidents of judicial misconduct?

Ed Mitchell is accusing others of painting with far too broad a brush, but yet he is doing the same thing himself.

Gort said...

Jackie Mo was an Assistant DA at the time but I agree she should have known what was going on.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point, which is Kokura brought up "Kids for cash" because Ed Mitchell had represented those judges years ago, not because Mecadon had anything to do with it. The old people, the only ones who vote regularly, only needed to hear "Kids for Cash" to go the other way. Remember Fred Williams and "Arena No"?

Anonymous said...

And for Joe Valenti to post on his web site he won't take any "negative" posting because he wants to start the "Healing Process" is being a big hypocrite since 1) He's a distant relative, and 2) To link someone to one of the sickest moves to ever happen in this valley is the peak of "Dirty Politics". What Mecadon brought up is reasonable and also published in the local papers. What role did Mecadon play if "Kids for Cash"?

Gort said...

I understand what Joe V wants to do and I agree. Alex and Jerry are both good people so Jerry needs to lick his wounds for a bit then kiss and make up with Alex.

Stephen Albert said...

Anonymous (4:42) - I read the Mitchell piece and I understand his point.

...and I quote...

"Fact is, none of the sitting judges on the current court, Jackie Carroll, Jerry Mecadon or I had any clue of the no good Michael Conahan or Mark Ciaverella were up to. They didn’t consult with any of us."

I don't know enough about Jerry Mecadon, but come on, you mean to tell me that the sitting DA had no inking that funny stuff was going on in these courtrooms? No one told JMC, for example, the pigeon story? No one told her about juvenile defendants without legal representation? I could go on but the point is made.

Ed Mitchell isn't an attorney or a judge, so I don't hold him responsible for failing to act. HOWEVER, there were people in these courtrooms who DID fail to act. No amount of overly-dramatic comparisons on Ed Michell's part can change that fact.

Jude said...

Apprreciate you blogging this