March 14, 2013 |
Fortunato Perri Sr. was once hailed as a tough but efficient judge and administrator at Philadelphia's Traffic Court, the man behind a surge in collections and a crackdown on the city's worst scofflaws. They called him "The Terminator" around court. Perri basked in the role. "The day they pulled me out of my mother's womb, they said 'This guy's going to be a traffic judge,'" he told The Inquirer in 2002. This morning, a shell of that once lively judge shuffled slowly into a federal courtroom - and onto the traffic bench's increasingly crowded wall of shame.
December 14, 2012 |
As I read William G. Chadwick's report on Philadelphia Traffic Court and the news articles that surrounded it, several questions leaped to mind. For example, why, in the age of the smartphone, is it necessary to drive all the way to Eighth and Spring Garden to get a ticket fixed? And, if guilty people are being found not guilty because of whom they know, does that mean that not-guilty people are being found guilty to make up for the lost revenue? But the question that really stumped me was this: How exactly does someone flunk the Traffic Court judge test?
April 28, 2012 |
The 21-year career of Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Bernice DeAngelis has come to a quiet but definitive end after state court officials said her services as senior judge were no longer needed. Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer - named Traffic Court's administrative judge in December in a reform move by the state Supreme Court - confirmed DeAngelis' April 20 departure in a Friday phone interview. Glazer declined to elaborate, saying, "All senior judges serve at the pleasure of the Supreme Court.
March 23, 2013 |
Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer, the reformer brought in to drive out corruption at Philadelphia Traffic Court, was joking - sort of. Glazer predicted that it would take just an hour for the culture of corruption in the court to come roaring back once he left his post as supervising judge. An aide said Glazer had it all wrong. His prediction: 15 minutes. Glazer told the story Friday as he appeared before a legislative panel considering a plan to abolish Traffic Court and replace its elected judges with hearing examiners who are part of Municipal Court.
October 30, 2013 |
Saying there is "serious uncertainty" that former Traffic Court Judge Michael Lowry will be convicted in a federal corruption case, the state's Court of Judicial Discipline has ruled that Lowry should be paid his full salary while he fights criminal charges. The decision, issued Friday, saying Lowry should be paid his $91,052 salary is the disciplinary court's third ruling in appeals by indicted Traffic Court judges seeking to win back pay. On Feb. 1, two days after the federal indictments, the state Supreme Court dismissed the judges without pay. Lowry's civil lawyer, Samuel C. Stretton, said he will petition the state Supreme Court to restore Lowry's salary and back pay dating to Feb. 1. Lowry, who faces fraud and perjury charges, and eight other former Traffic Court judges were charged in a 77-count indictment.
January 30, 1991 |
Within hours of Traffic Court President Judge George Twardy's firing of his top administrator yesterday, a state Supreme Court justice halted the action in letters to Twardy and the city Finance Department. Justice Nicholas P. Papadakos, who has been given enormous budget-cutting authority over the city courts by the Supreme Court, said he was also stopping Twardy's attempt to fire 47 other Traffic Court employees. Papadakos had said earlier that about 100 of the Traffic Court's 202 jobs can be cut without any loss of productivity - in part because the court has far less work since the city moved the processing of parking tickets to the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
June 18, 2014 |
Called before a grand jury two years ago, Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Michael Lowry testified that when it came to his rulings, everyone was treated "pretty much the same. " On Monday, his lawyer set out to prove it. As the federal ticket-fixing trial of Lowry and five other former judges resumed after a weeklong break, attorney William DeStefano accused FBI agents of focusing their investigation too narrowly and ignoring evidence that backed Lowry's claims. Brandishing statistical analysis of a day in his client's courtroom, DeStefano argued that at least one case singled out by prosecutors as an example of special treatment was anything but. The ticket-holder ended up with the day's worst outcome - a bigger fine than anyone else that day, he said.
March 20, 2013 |
At least one Philadelphia lawmaker - State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas - is making a bid to save Philadelphia Traffic Court. Thomas announced a proposal Monday to turn six Traffic Court judgeships into court masters, who would conduct fact-finding hearings on alleged traffic violations but leave it to a Municipal Court judge to determine whether a driver is guilty. Thomas said he was as angry as anyone else about the Traffic Court's ongoing corruption problems - most recently, the federal indictment of nine current and former judges for alleged fraud and conspiracy in a massive ticket-fixing operation.
June 6, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The state House took action Tuesday on the first of two critical pieces of legislation that would abolish Philadelphia's scandal-plagued Traffic Court. Lawmakers, by a 117-81 vote, joined the Senate in approving a constitutional change to eliminate the court, where nine former and current judges have been charged in a federal ticket-fixing scandal. The vote fell largely along party lines, with Republicans leading the effort. Both chambers must again approve the legislation next session and schedule it for a referendum as early as 2015.