February 1, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA Traffic Court Administrative Judge Fortunato Perri Sr. used what he knew best - a traffic analogy - while engaged in what federal investigators described Thursday as a "widespread culture" of ticket-fixing. Perri, speaking on the telephone in January 2010 - and unaware that the FBI was listening in - told a strip-club owner that he was concerned that their relationship was "becoming like a one-way street on my end . . . I like a two-way street. " The dead-end came Thursday, when Perri was indicted with eight other judges, a former Traffic Court official, the strip-club owner and another businessman.
May 23, 2013 |
The smattering of city voters who went to the polls for Tuesday's primary picked 12 would-be judges, including three potential new members of Traffic Court, an institution so steeped in corruption that state lawmakers are trying to abolish it. At the top of the judicial ticket, voters selected candidates for six open seats on Common Pleas Court and three open seats on Municipal Court. In Philadelphia, a city with a mammoth Democratic majority and a powerful party organization, the Democratic primary winners are near-locks to assume the bench.
March 24, 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.
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.
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.
December 3, 2008 |
A Philadelphia Traffic Court judge charged in April with passing the hat for campaign donations among a group of bikers while promising favorable consideration faces punishment after a state panel found him guilty of four counts of misconduct. The ruling by the Judicial Conduct Board said Traffic Court Judge Willie F. Singletary, 28, was "the pure antithesis of the concept of 'judge.' " Singletary faces a hearing by the panel on his punishment, which could range from a public reprimand to permanent removal from the bench.
November 26, 2012 |
The Philadelphia Traffic Court has been dogged by allegations of corruption, mismanagement, and political interference since its founding in 1938 - not long after the dawn of mass automobile use. By the time the FBI started snooping around in September 2011, raiding Traffic Court offices and judges' homes, the court had an established, shadow ticket-fixing bureaucracy. Routine ticket-fixing involved all seven judges active at the time, and was so ingrained that patronage employees viewed political favors as "part of their job responsibilities.
January 13, 2013 |
Spurred by a recent probe that found widespread ticket-fixing in Philadelphia Traffic Court, the Republican leader of the state Senate, Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County, is developing a proposal to abolish the court and transfer its authority over traffic violations to Municipal Court. "It's a commonsense idea, to see whether or not there's sufficient outrage at the historical behavior of Traffic Court to support these remedies," Pileggi said in an interview Friday. "I have yet to hear a good reason for maintaining this fatally flawed concept of Traffic Court as it is. " Pileggi cited an investigation initiated by state Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille that concluded in November that Traffic Court had "two tracks of justice - one for the connected and another for the unwitting general public.