HARRISBURG – The state Senate today voted unanimously to abolish the Philadelphia Traffic Court, just weeks after nine of its former and current judges were charged in a sweeping federal probe into ticket-fixing.
The chamber passed two separate bills – one that would eliminate the court from the state constitution and another that would transfer its responsibilities to Philadelphia Municipal Court.
"After the most recent round of indictments, the situation in Philadelphia Traffic Court is so bad that only one judge out of seven is still serving on the court," said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), the bills' prime sponsor. "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."
Pileggi noted that no other county in Pennsylvania has a separate traffic court, and that his chamber estimates that eliminating Philadelphia's could save up to $650,000 a year.
Late last month, nine traffic court judges were charged with dismissing or reducing citations for friends, family, business associates and political allies. Two judges - Kenneth Miller, 76, of Brookhaven, and H. Warren Hogeland, 75, of Richboro – pleaded guilty in the case earlier this week.