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Traffic Tickets

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NEWS
March 18, 1989 | By Connie O'Kane, Special to The Inquirer
Procedures in Burlington County traffic courts must return to normal while legal issues concerning tickets are decided, the state Supreme Court ordered yesterday. The court temporarily rescinded a decision by Burlington County Superior Court Judge Martin L. Haines, who recently ruled that many traffic tickets are issued illegally. Haines said the tickets are not examined by a neutral third party to determine whether the police officer had probable cause or sufficient reason to file the charge.
NEWS
April 23, 1998 | By Stephanie A. Stanley, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Car thefts, shoplifting and robberies might have gone up in the last decade, but don't fret. There is at least one number headed down - traffic tickets. In 1988, township police wrote 15,916 citations for moving violations. Since then, the number has been steadily dropping. Last year it was only 9,465, down 41 percent, according to the Police Department's 1997 annual report. "Maybe there aren't as many speeders," guessed David Dellaporta of Radnor, as he waited for his Volvo at the White Glove car wash in Bryn Mawr.
NEWS
July 12, 1987 | By Vanessa Herron, Inquirer Staff Writer
It started small, with a $5 parking ticket. But it ended big, with a confrontation with a district justice and decisions by the Downingtown Borough Council to withdraw the ticket and reconsider its policy on notifying offenders. At the center of this ticketing tempest is Heather Bruno of the 300 block of Washington Avenue. During Wednesday night's Borough Council meeting, she said she had been ordered to pay $44 in fines and court costs for failing to pay a $5 parking ticket in May. Bruno wasn't denying that her meter had expired while she shopped on Lancaster Avenue, but she said she never saw or heard about the ticket until she received the citation from the office of Downingtown District Justice Burtis C. Coxe.
NEWS
February 19, 1992 | By L. Stuart Ditzen, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
"Embarrassing" is the way Philadelphia Traffic Court President Judge Charles H. Cuffeld put it. Philadelphians, the judge said yesterday, are still ignoring their traffic tickets. Just as they were doing last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. Since becoming president judge in December, Cuffeld, like his predecessor, Traffic Court Judge George Twardy, has vowed to get tough on scofflaws. But yesterday, Cuffeld decided to try something nice as well.
NEWS
September 24, 2005
Is there a city in America other than Philadelphia where a person can get convicted and sentenced for fixing traffic tickets and still keep his taxpayer-funded job? Charles "C.P. " Mirarchi 3d was caught on FBI surveillance tapes in 2002, playing the bagman for former city Bureau of Administrative Adjudication director Joseph F. Hoffman Jr. Hoffman was receiving payoffs from taxicab company owner Michael Etemad, who wanted his cab fleet's $47,000 in parking tickets wiped off the books.
NEWS
April 25, 1989 | By Daniel LeDuc, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Police officers in New Jersey may continue to write their speeding tickets, parking tickets and other traffic citations as they always have, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday. The justices affirmed the current way traffic tickets are issued and overturned a ruling last month by Superior Court Judge Martin L. Haines of Burlington County that the way many tickets are filed is illegal. Changing the way traffic tickets are filed would have meant a major change in the way municipal courts in New Jersey do business and required millions of dollars for additional court personnel.
NEWS
March 15, 1989 | By Connie O'Kane, Special to The Inquirer
A Burlington County judge yesterday ordered that some prosecutions of routine traffic cases in the county be halted until an appellate court can decide whether the tickets were issued legally. The ruling by Superior Court Judge Martin L. Haines follows a recent opinion in which he said that a judge or court clerk must examine and sign a copy of a traffic ticket within 30 days after it is issued. If the copy is not examined by a neutral, impartial authority, police and prosecutors cannot prove there was probable cause to issue the ticket in the first place, Haines said in his decision.
NEWS
June 19, 1987 | By JIM SMITH, Daily News Staff Writer
The manager of the clothing workers union in Philadelphia told a jury yesterday that he and other union officials were "taking care of" members' traffic tickets while buying clothes for two Traffic Court judges and other city officials. "If a member had a ticket, he would bring it in (to the union)," said John Fox, manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board, Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. At first, said Fox, the tickets were "taken care of" by Frank Pepe, the union's secretary-treasurer and a Democratic Party committeeman who denied in prior testimony having anything to do with fixing traffic tickets.
NEWS
February 24, 2012
For careless Philadelphia motorists, 2011 was a good year to yak on a cellphone, roll through a stop sign, run a red light, or save a few bucks by forgoing insurance or annual vehicle inspection fees. They probably got away with it more often, due to the reported one-third drop in tickets issued last year for moving violations and vehicle-related infractions by the Police Department. In addition to drivers' logging fewer miles amid the economic downturn - and red-light cameras at 19 busy intersections possibly having a positive impact on driving habits across the city - it's also clear from the statistics that police simply weren't citing some motorists when they witnessed a traffic violation.
NEWS
February 20, 2007 | By Jan Hefler and Dwight Ott INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
T. Milton Street Sr., who last week announced his candidacy for mayor of Philadelphia, was handcuffed and jailed for five hours yesterday on charges that he ignored traffic tickets in two South Jersey towns. Street, 67, who is facing trial on federal corruption and tax evasion charges, said he was "totally shocked" by yesterday's events, which began when a Moorestown patrolman who knew that his township had a warrant for Street's arrest recognized the former Pennsylvania state representative and hot dog vendor buying a newspaper in a 7-Eleven store.
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NEWS
March 16, 2016 | By Jan Hefler, Staff Writer
The New Jersey Supreme Court has reprimanded Thomas J. Scattergood, a former municipal judge who served in various Burlington County towns, for downgrading traffic tickets for acquaintances instead of recusing himself, and for making sexist and undignified remarks at several court hearings. The court also barred Scattergood from holding future judicial office, saying in a 30-page presentment last week that his conduct had "undermined the public's confidence . . . in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
NEWS
January 16, 2016 | By Mark Fazlollah and Craig R. McCoy, STAFF WRITERS
In 2014, Michael J. Sullivan was the only accused Traffic Court judge to escape any convictions in a federal ticket-fixing investigation. That acquittal did him little good Thursday, when the state's Court of Judicial Discipline found that he indeed fixed tickets, and violated ethics rules in the process. And even though Sullivan quit the Traffic Court bench, the ruling could cost him his state pension. In the disciplinary tribunal's strongly worded decision, Superior Court Judge Jack Panella said Sullivan brought "the judicial office into disrepute.
NEWS
October 21, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
IN A STANDING-room-only courtroom yesterday, a federal judge sentenced a Southwest Philly automobile businessman to three years' probation in the Traffic Court ticket-fixing case. Henry Alfano, 69, known as "Eddie," got caught up in the scandal by using his longstanding connection to a then-retired Philadelphia Traffic Court judge, Fortunato Perri Sr., to get traffic tickets "fixed" for some of Alfano's friends and business associates. In exchange, prosecutors have said, Alfano gave Perri free seafood, porn videos and car repairs.
NEWS
October 21, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
July 26, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The former "hanging judge" of Philadelphia Traffic Court - a man so known for meting out tough justice to scofflaws that colleagues nicknamed him "the Terminator" - caught a break Friday when it came time for him to face up to his own crimes. Fortunato N. Perri Sr., 78, was sentenced to two years of federal probation for using his influence to have dozens of traffic tickets tossed in exchange for bribes of shrimp, crab cakes, and pornographic videos. The sentence was nothing less than an act of mercy for a man who once sentenced a driver to two years in jail for racking up $20,000 in traffic fines, but told him he would rather "give [him]
NEWS
January 16, 2015 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A FEDERAL JUDGE yesterday sentenced a former Philadelphia Traffic Court judge, convicted of perjury in a ticket-fixing case, to a year and eight months in prison. Michael Lowry, 59, of Mayfair, and three other judges who served on Traffic Court were convicted by a federal jury in July of lying to a grand jury or to the FBI. All four defendants and three others were acquitted of conspiracy, mail- and wire-fraud charges. The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel to Lowry was at the high end of his 15- to 21-month advisory-sentencing-guideline range.
NEWS
December 24, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
THE STATE'S Judicial Conduct Board filed ethics charges yesterday against a Philadelphia Traffic Court judge embroiled in an alleged ticket-fixing scam. Although a federal jury acquitted Michael J. Sullivan of conspiracy and fraud charges in July, the board accuses him of judicial misconduct that undermines "both public confidence in the judiciary and its reputation," according to a complaint filed yesterday. During the federal trial, prosecutors alleged that from 2008 to 2011, the six former Traffic Court judges, including Sullivan, either broadly dismissed traffic tickets or rendered "not guilty" verdicts for socially and politically connected people, thus depriving the government of untold sums in fines and fees.
NEWS
December 23, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
It may be time to reassess your priorities when a failure to take care of supposedly less important issues is affecting your primary goal. Take the "broken windows" approach to policing, which calls for minor crimes such as littering or disturbing the peace to be swiftly and appropriately punished, sending the message that no degree of criminality will be tolerated. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the way traffic violations have been handled in Philadelphia. Consequently, too many dangerous drivers who at least should have had their licenses taken away are still on the road, and other people have died as a result.
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