Court Won’t Rehear Ciaverella Case
WILKES-BARRE - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has refused to re-hear disgraced kids-for-cash judge Mark A Ciavarella’s case to get a new trial on his remaining convictions.
In March, a panel of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Chief U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner that Ciavarella’s most serious convictions — on charges of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering — should be overturned. But the court determined a statute of limitations defense would not have resulted in acquittal on the honest services mail fraud charges, allowing those convictions to stand.
Last month, Ciavarella’s attorney Jennifer P. Wilson filed a petition seeking a new hearing, arguing the jury’s verdict “clearly found the only kickback at issue to be the 2003 payment of $997,600.” If the jury had been instructed about the statute of limitations, jurors might have found the scheme to defraud ended outside the period of limitations, she argued.
In a brief order filed last week, Circuit Court Judge Thomas L. Ambro denied the petition, saying a majority of judges of the circuit voted against a rehearing.
— JAMES HALPIN