Judge Snores Through Trial – Wakes Up, Sends Man to Hard Labor

Ordinary people have tremendous power to take a stand against corruption, and to hold crooked officials and judges accountable.. don’t ever believe all hope is lost, or that you are powerless.

Place: Blagoveshchensk (Amur Region, Eastern Russia)

Date: 2012-2013

Official: Judge Yevegeny Makhno, Blagoveshchensk City Court

Victims:  Sergei Khabarov (sentenced to 6 years in prison) and Andrei Naletov (sentenced to 5 years in prison), local businessmen accused of fraud

A Russian judge resigns after caught sleeping on the bench during a trial that resulted in Andrei Naletov and Sergei Khabarov being sent to a penal colony for 5-6 years of hard labor.

A video of Judge Yevgeny Makhno went viral, showing the Judge slumped over, his head cocked to one side, as he is sleeping through a defense lawyer’s speech. Judge Makhno was also witnessed to be playing with his phone during trial.  Judge Makhno has been nicknamed the “Sleeping Judge” or “Napping Judge”.

Judge Makhno said he was not sleeping but “listening with his eyes closed”.

Human rights activits,Vladislav Nikitenko, received footage of the trial from concerned relatives of Andrei Naletov and posted it online. Mr. Nikitenko also filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court, asking the verdict to be cancelled.

Nikitenko said, “A verdict made on the basis of a hearing in which the judge took no interest in the court investigation and slept during the pleadings cannot be considered lawful.”

In March 2013, Andrei Naletov and Sergei Khabarov both had their sentences cancelled due to violations made during the investigative process. The release of this video and resulting complaint, as well as pressure mounted by the public awareness of the trial, was a powerful influence to hold Judge Makho accountable, and to demand justice for these men.

Makho may return to the bench – provided he retakes his exams. He is now working as a layer for a large gold mining company. How ironic, the crooked judge has now become a gold digger!


“Judge Falls Asleep During Trial in Russia”. Pravdu.com, 1-02-2013: http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/crimes/01-02-2013/123656-sleeping_judge-0/

 “Russian judge caught napping during trial, Only to turn around and send a man behind bars for 5 years”. Toksdam, 1-24-2013: http://www.toksdam.com/2013/01/24/russian-judge-caught-napping-during-trial-only-to-turn-around-and-send-a-man-behind-bars-for-5years/#more-10302

“Russian ‘sleeping judge’ resigns after video expose” by Alessandra Prentice. Reuters, 2-1-2013: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/01/us-russia-judge-idUSBRE9100ST20130201


Corrupt Judges Jail Kids for $$ Kickbacks $$

Gavel of Justice

Date of Charges, Length of Case: 2002-2008. Sentencing, Feb 2009. Case is infamously named “Kids for Cash”

Abuser/Perpetrator Name: Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella (on bench for 12 years) and Judge Michael Conahan aka “The Boss”. The two men are close friends and neighbors.

Abuser/Perpetrator Name: Co-conspirators operated two juvenile detention facilities. Robert Mericle, the developer of PA Child Care LLC gave payments when juveniles were sentenced to his facility. The center’s builder and owner were a part of thie scheme. Also involved was Robert Mericle.

Position: Served as Juvenile Court Judges in Luzerne County

Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA (Luzerne County)

VictimsThousands of Juvenile offenders who appeared in court before the disgraced former judges Judge Mark Ciavarella and Judge Michael Conahan

CrimeBetween 2002-2008, Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took $2.6 million dollars in kickbacks to send juveniles to two privately-run detention facilities, PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC. Many of the juveniles sentenced to the facilities were held on minor offenses, and were 1st time offenders. Others were jailed against the advice of their parole officers. 

It was common for the juveniles to appear in court without a lawyer; the Judges had to know that a 1967 ruling by the Supreme Court guaranteed children a constitutional right to legal counsel. The juveniles and their families, were not informed of their rights

Judge Ciavarella was known for rapid fire trials, within minutes offenders as young as 10 years old were publicly berated then sentenced to spend years behind bars.

In 2002, Judge Conahan shut down the county run juvenile detention facilities to award contracts exclusively to PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC, earning them tens of millions of dollars in illegal profits. 

Response: Both judges charged on Jan. 26, 2009 and removed from the bench by the PA Supreme Court (wonder if they still were eligible for a cushy pension?!?!).

Judge Ciavarella was found guilty on 12 of 39 charges including racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 28 years in jail; he is planning an appeal.

Judge Conahan received 17.5 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, he has since apologized for his criminal acts and will not appeal his sentence. Judge Conahan has underwent counseling and says that his domineering, and physically abusive father, were contributing factors to his own aggressive presence in the court, and his abusive sentencing of juvenile offenders.

PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC are still in operation.

“I’ve never encountered, and I don’t think that we will in our lifetimes, a case where literally thousands of kids’ lives were just tossed aside in order for a couple of judges to make some money,” said Marsha Levick, an attorney with the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. (AP)

In October, 2009, the PA Supreme Court dismissed 4,000 juvenile cases from Judge Ciavarella’s court, between the Jan. 2003-May 2008, when corruption was at its peak.
Judge Conahan reflects on his crimes, and the lives he destroyed, ““The system was not corrupt, I was corrupt. I did not perform my duties as I should. I did not have integrity.” (Citizen’s Voice)

More Info:

“Boss Conagan Sentenced to 17 1/2 years” by MICHAEL R. SISAK AND PATRICK SWEET (STAFF WRITERS). Citizen’s Voice, 9/23/2011: http://citizensvoice.com/boss-conahan-sentenced-to-17-years-1.1207996

“Despite Red Flags About Judges, a Kickback Scheme Flourished.” by Ian Urbina, March 27, 2009. New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/us/28judges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

“Pa. judges accused of jailing kids for cash” by Associated Press, 2/11/2009. NBCNews.com: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29142654/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/pa-judges-accused-jailing-kids-cash/

“Pennsylvania Judge Convicted in Alleged ‘Kids for Cash’ Scheme” by LINDSEY DAVIS, FRANK MASTROPOLO and , 2/21/2011. ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/mark-ciavarella-pa-juvenile-court-judge-convicted-alleged/story?id=12965182