February 4, 1991 |
While a justice of the state Supreme Court did battle with the president judge of Traffic Court last week, a familiar old presence - confusion - seemed to rule there. Management at Traffic Court is in such a state of haze and fragmentation that the chief clerk was fired by President Judge George Twardy one day and ordered rehired the next by Supreme Court Justice Nicholas P. Papadakos. Both men claimed to be in charge. Neither bowed to the other's will. At the end of the week, it wasn't clear whether chief clerk Royal D. Hart, who was at his desk Friday, was fired or rehired.
March 30, 2001 |
The city's perennially troubled Traffic Court has fallen further behind in efforts to collect fines and payments, according to an audit report issued yesterday afternoon by state Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. The report said uncollected fines and payments grew by 24 percent to $467 million in the three-year period ending June 30, 1999. The report also said that, on average during the three years, court officials failed to collect payment on 80 percent of the tickets filed with the court.
June 14, 1991 |
Enough is enough, Traffic Court President Judge George Twardy was told yesterday. After months of watching Twardy disregard his orders and fight spending cuts, Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Papadakos has demanded Twardy give up administrative control of the scandal-racked court. If Twardy does not surrender power voluntarily, Papadakos said he would ask the full Supreme Court to take away Twardy's power next week. Twardy fired back by fax a letter that ignored the resignation demand, announced the dismissal of 59 employees to reduce spending, and argued that he hasn't refused to carry out the Supreme Court's directives.
April 15, 1994 |
Like many of the other scofflaws who showed up at a special night session of Traffic Court last night in the Far Northeast, Earnie Mandia was ready to throw himself upon the mercy of the court. But there was no mercy to be had within the brick walls of the 8th Police District hearing room. There was only President Judge Charles Cuffeld. And to the dismay of Mandia and 42 other scofflaws who attended, Cuffeld was not honoring the unwritten rule of years past, when judges would throw out tickets over two years old. Mandia's fines mounted as Cuffeld leafed through dozens of tickets, including one 10 years old. The judge recited the litany of charges - speeding, reckless driving, running red lights, driving while his license was suspended.
February 21, 1986 |
Traffic Court President Judge Salvatore DeMeo yesterday agreed to cooperate with the man he tried to fire this week, Chief Clerk Royal D. Hart, less than an hour before he faced suspension if he did not do so. An aide to state Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix Jr. said Nix received a hand-delivered letter from DeMeo at 4:09 p.m., saying that DeMeo would cooperate with Hart's efforts to run the court, including decisions regarding hiring...
March 27, 1991 |
Your March 21 article distorts what we are attempting to do here within the Philadelphia court system. Let me attempt to put it in proper perspective. The city is near fiscal collapse. We have all been asked to tighten our belts, and operate in the most efficient way possible. The Supreme Court, through Justices Nicholas Papadakos and Ralph Cappy, has joined with city and state officials to formulate a "rescue effort. " The two Supreme Court justices have vowed to slice millions of dollars and hundreds of workers from the budgets of Traffic, Municipal and Common Pleas courts.
December 8, 2012 |
'Americans have made the worst botch of government in the recorded history of the world. " So declared Harvard president Charles W. Eliot in 1910, citing "the daily report of automobile accidents" in the country. He concluded, "In no other civilized land could you find such a record of official incompetence or indifference. " The solution was a new institution, the traffic court - which in turn brought new forms of incompetence and indifference. Witness the recent report on Philadelphia's Traffic Court, which found "two tracks of justice": one for the connected and the other for everyone else.
January 3, 1992 |
In his first moves as the Traffic Court president judge, Charles H. Cuffeld, a Democrat, has demoted several top managers, all Republicans, who served under his predecessor, George Twardy, a Republican. Among those demoted was the court's administrator, Gerald R. Walsh, who resigned Monday after Cuffield asked him to vacate his office and turn in his key and told him he was being reassigned. Cuffeld also transferred Walsh's two chief deputies, Robert DeEmilio and Dolores Hartman, to lower-ranking positions.
February 8, 2013
WATCHING the parade of Philadelphia Traffic Court judges surrendering last week at the federal courthouse, we wondered if the latest ticket-fixing scandal and resulting criminal charges would change much of anything. Traffic Court scandals come and go in Philly. The names of the judges change, but the scam stays the same. Political pull is the currency that trumps everything. But this mess - nine current and retired judges, one former court official and two businessmen facing charges - may be Traffic Court's tipping point.
February 1, 2013 |
A FEDERAL investigation into ticket-fixing as political favors in Philadelphia Traffic Court is expected to culminate Thursday morning with sweeping indictments of most of the current judges and some retired judges. Thomasine Tynes, who retired as the court's president judge in July, said that she expects a crowd in federal court when she shows up to surrender and be charged. "The whole court, as far as I was told," Tynes said Wednesday, when asked who else would be charged with crimes.