'Kids for Cash' survivors react to new Ciavarella court ruling
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF-TV) —
Disgraced Judge Mark Ciavarella is waiting for a new trial date.
The disgraced judge is accused of getting kickbacks for sending kids to prison for even minor crimes.
Matthew Miller says he is one of the forgotten survivors of the Kids for Cash scandal.
"This tattoo of my right forearm because of Ciavarella. 'Real Recognize Real' pretty much because he was fake. And I just wanted a constant reminder to look out for fake people. Because I don't want to get screwed like he screwed me,” Miller said.
In 2004, when he was 17-years-old, Miller says he appeared before the disgraced judge in Luzerne County court.
"I got sent away, pretty much for something I didn't do. And they came back two years later, to Mark, we're going to call him Mark because he's not a judge in my opinion, and they said there's a mix up. And Mark's like, 'he's still in placement.'
Miller says after Ciavarella was sent to prison in 2011, countless children were released from detention centers across the state.
But he was forgotten.
His record was expunged, but for reasons no one can seem to explain to him, Miller says he remained in state custody until March 16, 2017.
"I did 12 and a half years of my life. I can't get those back,” Miller added.
He believes Monday's decision by a federal judge to reverse several of Ciavarella's convictions is disgusting.
"Twenty-eight years is not enough. You need to die in prison, and you need to take responsibility what you did to me and all those other kids. And how you affected me and all their families, and those kids.">
Judy Lorah Fisher's says Ciavarella sent her niece Amanda away for five and a half years after she hit a girl with a volleyball in gym class.
Now her family is living the nightmare all over again.
“Most people can heal and move on. But we're not allowed to heal and move on because Mark Ciavarella keeps showing up in the papers wanting things; wanting things he doesn't deserve to get,” Lorah Fisher said.
Amanda was released in 2011.
She moved to California but her nightmare didn't end there.
Judy says she suffers from P.T.S.D. and refuses to come back to Pennsylvania and Luzerne County.
"She feels she's going to be wrongfully accused of something here. And she feels that she doesn't feel free here. She can live a free, stress-free life in California because she's 3,000 miles away from here,” she said.
Judy says she's going to do whatever it takes to make sure Ciavarella stays behind bars.
"I'm going to reach out to everybody and anybody, so that we can show the fact that this man does not deserve a new trial,” she added.
It's not exactly clear what happens next for Ciavarella.
But he has maintained his innocence since the beginning.
Judy and Matthew will be following it closely, fighting for him to serve each day of his 28-year sentence.