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The Worst Person in the World


It’s good that Mark Ciavarella will be receiving the due process he denied to so many young men and women. And if he’s found guilty, hopefully he will get to experience the correctional facilities he profited from for a very long time.

To me, however, this is has always been a classic case of “the real scandal is what’s (at least nominally) legal”:

Mr. Ciavarella faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted of all 39 counts against him. But the fact that he is on trial at all feels like a triumph to Hillary Transue, whom he sentenced to three months for a spoof Web page mocking an assistant principal at her high school in 2007.

If you have a system where someone can spend even a day in prison for a creating a non-threatening website about a school administrator, it’s broken from A to Z. That sentence would be utterly outrageous even if applied by a clean judge following a fair trail, although the fact that the judge who gave the sentence was certainly indifferent to constitutional rights and almost certainly crooked isn’t a coincidence.

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