Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal figure disbarred; was sentenced to 18 months after pleas

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WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania — One of the main figures in a northeastern Pennsylvania juvenile justice scandal has been disbarred from the practice of law in the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court imposed the penalty Friday on 55-year-old Robert Powell, the former co-owner of two for-profit youth detention centers.

Powell pleaded guilty in 2009 to concealing a felony and an accessory charge in a kickback scheme that led the state Supreme Court to vacate the convictions of thousands of juveniles who appeared before a now-jailed state judge.

Powell was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and was released in 2013. He was temporarily suspended from the state bar in 2009, and Friday's action makes that suspension permanent.

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