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.
October 21, 2015 |
The last sentencing in the federal corruption case responsible for the dismantling of the city's Traffic Court turned Monday into a referendum on the merits of old Philadelphia politics of personal favors. Southwest Philadelphia businessman Henry "Eddie" Alfano - who admitted last year to plying a retired judge with gifts of seafood, car repairs, and porn - was sentenced to three years of probation and a $5,000 fine. But his lawyers argued Monday that the 70-year-old's efforts to fix traffic tickets on behalf of family and friends was just an extension of the charity he had showered on others throughout much of his life.
April 18, 1990 |
In a quest to improve "court decorum," Philadelphia Traffic Court President Judge George Twardy swore in 20 newly appointed court officials yesterday, giving them badges and uniforms. "The court did not present proper decorum in the past to the public," Anthony Novasitis, Twardy's special counsel, said yesterday. "Decorum - this is what Judge Twardy is striving for. " Until yesterday, the five traffic courtrooms had been staffed by court clerks. They were charged with maintaining the paperwork related to cases, Novasitis said.
December 5, 2008
Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Willie F. Singletary's brief judicial career has veered into a ditch. Now it's time to call a tow truck to haul him away. There's no logical way the state's Court of Judicial Discipline can let Singletary keep his $82,733-a-year job as a jurist, given the findings this week by the panel. The court ruled that Singletary - famously caught on video telling a 2007 gathering of motorcyclists "you're going to need my hook-up" as he passed the hat for campaign donations - broke more rules than most of the violators who come into his traffic court.
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.
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.