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Philadelphia Court Ticket-Fixing Called Rampant--Two Tracks of Justice

November 21, 2012 06:05:00 am

An investigative report on Philadelphia Traffic Court portrays it as a place where ticket-fixing is rampant, with "two tracks of justice - one for the connected and another for the unwitting general public," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The report, commissioned by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, says Traffic Court staff identified the offices of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic Party in Philadelphia, as a frequent "requestor" of such "special consideration." Brady denied it.

It details how a Traffic Court judge acquitted the wife of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery of driving the wrong way on a one-way street after McCaffery spoke with a top court administrator who met with the justice at McCaffery's car outside the court building. McCaffery said he had asked for an out-of-county judge to hear the case, not to fix the ticket. Federal investigators, who have been conducting a separate criminal probe of the Traffic Court for more than a year, have subpoenaed records dealing with the McCaffery-related ticket. The report says that five elected judges and two senior judges who "sat regularly" before a series of FBI raids in 2011 are being investigated by federal authorities. Traffic Court handles 170,000 cases yearly. Its elected judges each earn $89,000 a year and supervise a patronage workforce of 115.

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