9 Philadelphia Traffic Court judges have been charged with conspiracy and fraud due to their lenient attitude towards traffic violations.
Charges were issued on January 31 for the current and former judges, Philly.com details. A total of 77 counts have been filed against them, announcing a trial that is set to shed light on “a well-understood conspiracy of silence.”
Prosecutors allege that known offenders would receive preferential treatment in traffic court, having their tickets annulled, while residents with no criminal ties would be held to pay up.
“For years, even beyond the conspiracy charged, there existed a culture of ticket fixing at Traffic Court. [...] The ticket fixing was pervasive and frequent,” the indictment documentation reads.
“Those who seek to game the system by refusing to follow the rules need to be held accountable by the rule of law they swore to uphold,” states U.S. Attorney Zane D. Memeger. He stresses that the judge's decisions prompted financial losses by the Commonwealth.
Michael Lowry and Michael Sullivan are the only sitting judges named in the corruption scandal. Philadelphia's elected judges Fortunato Perri Sr., Robert Mulgrew, Willie Singletary and Thomasine Tynes have also been indicted.
The remaining four are Chester County's Mark A. Bruno, H. Warren Hogeland of Bucks County, and Kenneth Miller of Delaware County.
“I'm so upset. [...] I don't know nothing really,” judge Thomasine Tynes tells reporters.
Hogeland, Miller and Perri, as the only three judges who have not been indicted on Thursday, will be charged separately. The difference in procedure hints to a possible guilty plea on their part.
Traffic Court administrator William Hird and businessmen Henry P. Alfano and Robert Moy. Alfano have also been indicted, following their involvement in a bidding issue that went through Traffic Court.