PA Senate Votes Against Troubled Philly Traffic Court

February 25th, 2013 by admin

Nine judges have been charged in a ticket-fixing scheme that overran the Philadelphia Traffic Court. Just two weeks ago, two of those judges pleaded guilty in federal court. While the criminal justice system is handling the judges, state lawmakers have decided to rid the city of the court altogether. State Senators voted to abolish the Philly Traffic Court and now the bill goes before the House.

ptcThe judges are accused of giving favors to friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances of colleagues. It was general practice in the court, for the accused judges to simply not hear a case after being contacted and asked for “special consideration.” In other words, they were throwing out cases of people who had connections.

While these weren’t serious criminal charges that the judges were throwing out, they were charges nonetheless and providing special treatment to people is simply unjust.

Judges H. Warren Hogeland and Kenneth Miller are the two that have thus far pleaded guilty in agreements with prosecutors. Though they could face jail time, it’s unlikely. Instead, it’s possible that these two judges will testify against their former colleagues in order to receive the lightest sentence possible.

In order to get rid of the Traffic Court completely, the bills have to go through two consecutive legislative sessions. They are in their first now. Then, they must be put to a vote. According to Philly.com, the earliest this could happen is 2015.

In the wake of the sweep, only one judge remains standing from that court.

“After the most recent round of indictments, the situation is Philadelphia Traffic Court is so bad that only one judge out of seven is still serving on the court,” said Sen. Dominic Pileggi. “There is no good reason for taxpayers to continue footing the bill for a court that is unnecessary and has become an embarrassment to the state’s judicial system.”

The chances of you getting criminal charges dismissed simply because you know someone who knows someone are extremely slim. The vast majority of people who are caught up in the criminal courts have to go through the regular, lawful process. But, this doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

You have rights and a local defense lawyer can help you navigate your legal options in hopes of getting the best result possible in court. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.

 

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