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Judge who presided over notorious ‘kids for cash’ case dies

June 13, 2019

A retired federal judge best known for sending two corrupt judges to prison for their role in a notorious Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal has died.

Edwin Kosik was 94.

Kosik died Thursday morning at a senior center outside Wilkes-Barre after a brief illness, said his son, Michael Kosik.

Kosik, an Army veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, was appointed to the federal bench in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. He became a senior judge in 1996. He heard cases into his early 90s.

Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner called his death a “profound loss to the legacy of our court.”

“His work ethic was extraordinary. He also had a tremendous record of public service as a veteran, as a state court judge and ultimately as a federal court judge in our district. I can say without hesitation that our dear colleague will be sorely missed,” Conner said.

Kosik presided over the “kids for cash” case, in which two local judges were accused of taking money from the developer of a pair of for-profit youth detention centers.

The judges pleaded guilty to corruption charges in a deal with prosecutors that called for a sentence of more than seven years in prison. But Kosik rejected the plea bargain, saying the pair hadn’t fully accepted responsibility for the crimes.

Kosik sentenced one judge to 17 1/2 years and the other judge to 28 years in prison. The scandal led the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to dismiss thousands of juvenile convictions.

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