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 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.
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.
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.
December 5, 2014 |
The first of four former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges to face punishment for lying about systemic corruption at the court was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison - a decision that could signal the others are also likely to get time behind bars. Robert Mulgrew, 57, told U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel he never set out to mislead federal investigators or the grand jury investigating whether judges routinely fixed tickets for friends and political allies.