Delco judge who pleaded guilty in Philly case testifies

Posted: June 20, 2014

AFTER RETIRING as a Delaware County Magisterial District judge, Kenneth Miller filled in for a year as a Philadelphia Traffic Court judge and quickly learned about the practice of "consideration" - or, as prosecutors have called it, "ticket-fixing."

It was the "very first or second day I was there," Miller, who served in Traffic Court in 2007, told jurors yesterday in the federal fraud-and-conspiracy trial of six other judges who served on Traffic Court.

"A stranger walked into my chambers and handed me a piece of paper," he said. That man told Miller that the person whose name was on the paper would be in Miller's courtroom and needed help on a traffic ticket.

"I told him to shove it," Miller testified. Within an hour of refusing the request, news of the refusal spread "all over the building," Miller said.

Miller pleaded guilty in February 2013 in this case to one count of mail fraud. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek, Miller said the practice of giving favorable treatment on tickets to people who were socially or politically connected was "totally illegal" because of the way it was handled.

During the year he served on Traffic Court, he admitted, he gave "consideration" to ticket-holders whom he didn't know.

Miller also said that after he left Traffic Court, he asked for "consideration" for people he knew.

In October 2010, his son, Kirk Miller, got a ticket for speeding on the Platt Bridge. A couple of months later, he asked for "consideration" for a Delaware County court clerk whose son got a traffic ticket.

Miller notified Billy Hird, the court's administrator, about the tickets, and they got dismissed.

During cross-examination, defense attorney William J. Brennan asked Miller if he thought he was committing a federal crime when he asked for "consideration" on tickets.

"No," said Miller.

But he added: "I knew it was wrong."

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly

comments powered by Disqus