Pennsylvania has the dubious distinction of being home to one of the most notorious judicial crimes in U.S. history. But five years after the masterminds behind the “kids-for-cash” scandal went to prison, the state’s courts have continued to struggle with corruption and misconduct on the bench.

Court leaders often claim that these examples of corruption and misconduct are isolated incidents carried out by a few bad apples. But legal and political experts argue a number of overarching factors contribute to Pennsylvania’s judicial woes, from the election of judges to political cronyism, allowed to fester by a judicial disciplinary system that remains ineffective despite reform efforts.

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