WILKES-BARRE —A public rally for judicial reform is planned for the Luzerne County Courthouse next month by an attorney who’s engaged in a court battle to have his license reinstated.
Plans are for the rally to begin at 11 a.m. on July 17 on the steps of the courthouse, said attorney Andy Ostrowski.
The lineup of speakers is still being arranged and might include former state Auditor General Don Bailey, Civil Rights Hall of Fame inductee Jesse Epps and Sandy Fonzo, one of the people featured in the “Kids for Cash” documentary about the juvenile justice scandal in Luzerne County.
Ostrowski, 49, a Democrat from Dauphin County, will be there and use the event to campaign for the 11th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton.
His experiences about his suspension by the state Supreme Court define and motivate him as a candidate. “They kind of go hand in hand,” Ostrowski said.
His advocacy for reform has made him a target of the judicial system, he said, and his license won’t get reinstated unless he removes his Pennsylvania Civil Rights Law Network Youtube Channel and takes down his website.
Given what happened here with the “Kids for Cash” scandal, there is “no better place” than the Luzerne County Courthouse for the rally, he said.
Former judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan are serving lengthy federal prison sentences for their roles in a nearly $3 million kickback scheme involving the construction of two, private for-profit juvenile detention centers and the placement of youths in the facilities in Pittston Township and Butler County.
The Luzerne County court, under the leadership of President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr., underwent a systemic overhaul after the scandal to restore trust and confidence in judicial system.
Ostrowski said the courts will be open the day of the rally that is going to be civil and peaceful.
He’s been raising the issue of reform throughout the district as he campaigns. He’d like to hold a similar rally at the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg, he said.
“There’s a lot of reception to this,” Ostrowski said. “I really think we’re going to pick up some momentum.”
He invited the public to attend the free event and help grow a national movement.