As part of its continuous efforts to eliminate corruption in the troubled Traffic City Court, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is taking on the new assignment of prosecuting traffic violations.
handle the more than 500 cases daily, four city prosecutors and 10 paralegals are dispatched to take over the system wherein police officers often served in the role of prosecutor.
In announcing the new proposal last week, Mayor Nutter and D.A. Seth Williams stated that the change will result to more consistent to the results of cases while offering an extra measure of openness. The Mayor is planning to revise the annual budget of the city to avail the amount of $800,000 to maintain the new staff, if approved by the City Council.
Nutter said that the former system is already pass and had to done away. He stated that the new court will be the opposite of the old tainted justice system for all will be provided true justice.
The proposal of Nutter was out on the same day that the selection of jury was started. They will be serving in the federal trial of six ex-Traffic Court judges who were accused of running long-series of ticket-fixing scheme.
When Robert F. Kelly, U.S. District Judge got sick, the proceedings were rescheduled to Wednesday, as the post was taken over by Judge Lawrence F. Stengel. Jury selection will continue on Wednesday.
Filing of the federal case ends the series of scams committed in the Traffic Court that the Mayor described as a charade to the quality of equitable justice.
Back in 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court commissioned an independent report and discovered that the Traffic Court, located at Spring Garden and 8th Streets, had for several years operating under two justice systems ? one was serving favors for the well-connected, and another for everybody else.
FBI investigators were able to unearth the ticket-fixing scheme of the judges who regularly dismissed traffic violation cases for their political allies and friend that tantamount to the loss of funds for the city and state thousands of dollars in prospective revenue from fines.
Since the legislature abolished the Traffic Court last year and incorporated its operations into a division of Municipal Court, district attorneys assumed their new roles in handling traffic violations.
Out of the former Traffic Court judges, only one of original juror remains. Five hearing officers were hired last week to start their roles in hearing cases involving disputed tickets.
Common Pleas Court judge Gary S. Glazer was delegated to supervise the arrangements. As of Monday, said transformation of the Court to the new system was in progress.
Judge Glazer said that there is no lesson available on how to start a new court but all of them are trying figure out how to manage the system that they are reconstructing.
Source: Articles Philly Com