Judge removed, big changes for Phila. traffic court
PHILADELPHIA - December 19, 2011 (WPVI) -- The state Supreme Court says the corruption is so rampant in the Philadelphia Traffic Court that it's time for a completely fresh start.
"The practice of accepting external requests for favorable treatment was so prevailing that it has become institutionalized," said Chief Justice Ron Castille.
In an unprecedented move, the state Supreme Court removed Administrative Judge Michael Sullivan and replaced him with a Common Pleas Court judge.
Chief Justice Castille says ticket fixing for those who are "connected" has become a common practice.
They've ordered all employees to cooperate with an internal investigation and with the FBI.
Action News first reported in September that the FBI raided Judge Sullivan's office, and searched his home.
They seized records from a family owned bar and another taproom.
FBI agents also searched the home of retired Traffic Court Chief Fortunato Perri Sr.
Castille says the practice of fixing tickets for politicians and family ends now.
"Everyone down there knows that it's a different culture we're imposing starting today," he said.
Common Pleas Judge Gary Glazer is now in charge. He met with staff Monday morning and laid down the law.
"We have to bring what I would call culture change to the traffic court. That is my objective," said Judge Glazer.
Sources say the internal investigation will likely lead to more judges and staff being removed.
Judge Castille says the new Traffic Court will be radically different.
"Where everyone has the same opportunity for a fair hearing, and not just the politically connected," Castille said.
There are a lot of nervous politicians right now.
Sources say when this is all over the beneficiaries of the ticket fixing will be named and they include well known figures at all levels of government, federal, state and local.
pennsylvania, philadelphia, fbi, local/state, david henry
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