- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say they will not retry a former northeastern Pennsylvania judge on some charges thrown out by a federal appeals court in what authorities said were juveniles wrongly sent to a detention center.

Defense attorneys say they will seek a reduction in the prison sentence imposed on former Luzerne County judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. following the decision announced Friday in a filing with the court.

U.S. Attorney David Freed on Monday cited the length of the sentence on the remaining counts as well as the difficulty of retrying the case given the amount of time that has passed.

Defense attorney Craig Kauzlarich said the defense plans to seek a reduction of the 28-year federal prison sentence Ciavarella is currently serving at Federal Correctional Institution-Ashland in Kentucky.

Ciavarella was convicted in 2011 of accepting bribes in exchange for ordering kids to a for-profit detention center for a wide range of relatively minor infractions. Sentenced to 28 years, the 69-year-old defendant has denied wrongdoing.

A three-member 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel agreed last year with a judge’s decision in January 2018 to vacate racketeering and money laundering conspiracy charges in the case. In throwing out convictions on three of 12 charges, the judge agreed with his argument that his attorneys failed to raise a statute of limitations argument.

Former county judge Michael Conahan, 67, pleaded guilty in 2010 to racketeering in the case and has been serving a 17½ sentence at a federal prison in Florida.

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