Still Feeling Victorious, Judge Ciavarella?
Local Feb 202011It was utterly heart-wrenching watching and hearing an anguished mother fall apart at the sight of Mark Ciavarella heading home.
No one knew Sandy Fonzo was in the crowd until Ciavarella’s attorney, Al Flora, said, “This was not a cash for kids case.” That remark was apparently more than this devasted mother could bear.
Fonzo screamed at the former judge, who was just found guilty of racketeering, that her son killed himself. She screeched in pain that it was his fault, that her son never recovered after being sent to a juvenile detention center at the age of 17. Last June, at the age of 23, he shot himself in the heart.
She left work Friday afternoon so she could watch Ciavarella hauled away in handcuffs. She needed to see that. Instead, U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik allowed him to go home with his pregnant daughter, pending his sentencing.
“Are YOU kidding me? Are YOU kidding me?” Fonzo wailed. “You ruined my f….ing life. You killed my son. I’m not a mother. I’m not anything.” She couldn’t stop. ”Do you remember me? Do you remember me? Do you remember my son?” she cried hysterically. She told the stunned Ciavarella that her son was an all-star wrestler and that now he’s gone and her life is ruined.
Ciavarella did not remember her. “I don’t know that lady,” he said. He said he didn’t know the facts or the circumstances of her son’s case. He really should have kept his mouth shut and never admitted that. Not while a broken woman was overcome with grief. Thankfully, Fonzo didn’t hear Ciavarella say he didn’t recall her son’s case, especially after she just screamed that her world has been shattered by his suicide.
Despite being convicted of some serious charges and facing a prison term of between 12 and 15 years, many are angry that the so-called Kids for Cash angle of this case never really came into play.
Ciavarella was reputed to be tough as nails with the juveniles who appeared before him. School principals and even some parents commended him for it. A high-ranking probation department official was prepared to testify for the prosecution that Ciavarella insisted some juveniles be sent to detention despite her protests. But he was the boss. The prosecution didn’t call her because it wanted to nail Ciavarella on racketeering and money laundering, and it did. The defense declared a victory because he wasn’t found guilty of 27 charges.
And now Ciavarella and the community at large awaits his sentencing.
Maybe Ciavarella didn’t remember Sandy Fonzo or her son, but he’s not about to forget her any time soon.
And if he’s still feeling victorious after Friday’s verdict, after coming face to face with this grief-stricken, now childless mother, then Ciavarella is an even more hardened criminal than anyone thought.
- Betty Roccograndi
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The only thing I would like to add is if (Yeah, try when) Ciavarella appeals, I would love to have ALL 39 charges reopened. This A$$ should be eligible for parole in life plus one day.
Dan Emplit WBFD