SCRANTON — Attorneys for the remaining defendants in the kids-for-cash lawsuits say appeals they filed relating to pretrial rulings were made in good faith and do not warrant sanctions against them.
In court papers filed Tuesday, attorney Bernard Schneider said he and fellow attorneys representing Robert Powell, PA Child Care and its related entities were pursuing a vigorous defense for their clients, and none of the actions they took was done with the intent of delaying the proceedings.
The reply was in response to a recent motion for sanctions by Sol Weiss and other attorneys representing juveniles who allege former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella wrongly incarcerated them in juvenile detention centers that were co-owned by Powell. The suit alleges the juvenile centers knew Ciavarella was violating juveniles’ rights by holding hearings at which they were not represented by an attorney.
Weiss is seeking monetary damages, claiming Schneider and other attorneys have unnecessarily prolonged the litigation by filing numerous appeals of pretrial orders issued by U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo that denied their requests to obtain information about the juveniles’ backgrounds.
Schneider has vehemently argued that information is crucial to his clients’ defense because it supports their position Ciavarella would have jailed the youths, regardless of whether they had been represented. Caputo has repeatedly denied their motions, saying the juveniles’ guilt or innocence to the underlying crimes is irrelevant.
Disagreeing with Caputo’s rulings, Schneider filed an appeal of the matter with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the judge’s decisions.
In his reply to the sanctions motion, Schneider said the law provides only that sanctions be levied against an attorney if he raises arguments he knows to be frivolous. He maintains he had a solid legal basis for the appeals, even though they were unsuccessful.
Caputo will review the motions and issue a ruling at a later date.