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.
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.
October 9, 1987 |
The state Supreme Court has ended its cleanup of Philadelphia's corruption- ridden Traffic Court. "We now feel that the court is on an even keel sufficient for us to move ahead on . . . various priorities," Nancy M. Sobolevitch of the administrative office of Pennsylvania Courts said yesterday. Sobolevitch, a spokeswoman for Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix Jr., said no changes would be made in court personnel. Royal D. Hart, the chief clerk appointed early last year by a citizens committee named by Nix to clean up the court, will remain in his position, she said.
May 17, 1989 |
Interesting things can happen in Traffic Court - where two top officials have been jailed for bribery in recent years - but the low-profile elections of Traffic Court judges seldom produce surprises. Last night, the party-endorsed candidates won the two Democratic and two Republican nominations. Democratic winners are Frank "Duke" Little and Thomasine Tynes. Little, 49, is the leader of the 42nd Ward in Feltonville and holds a political job in the register of wills office.
May 19, 2013
It's hard to say whether Warren Bloom would be a bad traffic judge. That's because the job, for which Bloom is seeking the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, has virtually no prerequisites beyond possessing a pulse, living in Philadelphia, and winning a pale imitation of an election. It's somewhat easier to determine whether Bloom has, at least at times, been a bad taxpayer, a bad uncle, and a very bad rapper. That's because he owes more than $20,000 in taxes (which might be helped by a traffic judge's $91,000 salary)
November 26, 1990 |
His critics call it "Twardy's Palace," where a judge complains of being bumped off the bench, a scofflaw gets a patronage plum, and the politics are enough to make a ward leader blush. Welcome again to Traffic Court. In the circus known as Philadelphia government, the court has always been a carload of clowns, a high-wire act that makes City Council seem dignified and the Parking Authority look professional. Its leader is President Judge George Twardy, who has no law degree but is well educated in the complexities of Philadelphia politics.
April 5, 1988 |
Traffic Court Judge Salvatore DeMeo, 57, a former Republican state legislator, died Sunday at Hahnemann University Hospital. He lived in South Philadelphia. Judge DeMeo was president judge of Traffic Court from 1981 to 1986. He remained on the bench after he was removed from the president's post and was retained for a new term last fall. Judge DeMeo was raised in the area of Sixth and Cross Streets in South Philadelphia, where he learned politics as a boy by attending ward meetings with his father, a Republican committeeman.