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Judge sees 'appearance of impropriety' in defamation judgment

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  1. Libel and Privacy
The involvement of two disgraced judges in a $3.5 million defamation judgment against the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Citizens'  Voice persuaded a…

The involvement of two disgraced judges in a $3.5 million defamation judgment against the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Citizens’  Voice persuaded a reviewing judge to recommend that the verdict be discarded, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The lawsuit, brought by a businessman over the newspaper’s reports about raids on his home and business and a mobster’s home, was originally decided by former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella, according the AP. He is one of the two judges who pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks in exchange for sending youth offenders to private detention centers.

The other judge who pleaded guilty in the scandal, Michael Conahan, had close ties to the mobster involved in the newspaper stories, the AP reported.

Lehigh County Judge William Platt, who was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to review the defamation case, said Ciavarella’s "demeanor and lack of remorse" helped convince him of an "appearance of impropriety." Platt recommended a new trial.