Twardy did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The disputed cases - ranging from simple traffic violations to leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving - were heard by four retired judges
from the beginning of the month to May 23. Their unauthorized rulings could affect fines, driver's license suspensions and violation points that lead to higher insurance rates.
The Supreme Court has ordered Traffic Court to retry all the cases, which means renotifying defendants and the state Transportation Department, wiping clean any convictions and rescheduling the cases. It is unclear how the court will handle fine money paid by defendants.
State officials don't know how many cases are involved, but a Daily News analysis of May court dockets identified 1,255 individuals with cases before the four judges. Some individuals had 20 to 30 cases.
The defendants getting new hearings include T. Milton Street, the former Traffic Court official who on May 8 had 14 cases before one of the unauthorized judges.
Twardy assigned the retirees, known as "senior judges," despite an order
from Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen on April 29. To save money, Larsen prohibited Twardy from using any senior judges in May. Senior judges usually are paid $109 a day.
Twardy assigned the senior judges anyway, announcing they "all graciously volunteered their time for the benefit of the court."
Two of Twardy's appointees were from the suburbs. Senior Judge Dominick C. Spadaccino, a former Bucks County district judge, heard cases involving 824 defendants in May. Senior Judge Charles Nesbitt of Delaware County heard cases involving 168 defendants. The other two senior judges were Philadelphians: Charles Marotta, who had 144 defendants, and Edward Cox, who had 119.
The state court administrator's staff discovered the unauthorized judges on May 23, when Twardy's office called to ask about medical benefits for senior judges. Although Twardy's retirees were receiving no pay, the more days they worked, the more benefits they got.
The use of unauthorized judges is the latest in a series of Traffic Court controversies that include a ticket-fixing investigation revealed last week, disputes over reducing the court's patronage-bloated payroll, and allegations of racial and sexual discrimination in making job cuts.