In 2014, Michael J. Sullivan was the only accused Traffic Court judge to escape any convictions in a federal ticket-fixing investigation.

That acquittal did him little good Thursday, when the state's Court of Judicial Discipline found that he indeed fixed tickets, and violated ethics rules in the process.

And even though Sullivan quit the Traffic Court bench, the ruling could cost him his state pension.

In the disciplinary tribunal's strongly worded decision, Superior Court Judge Jack Panella said Sullivan brought "the judicial office into disrepute."

"There is no place for corruption in the Pennsylvania judiciary," Panella wrote in his opening sentences. "No type of corruption is acceptable in Pennsylvania."

Sullivan's lawyer, Samuel C. Stretton, said his client would fight the decision.

"I intend to take this all the way up" the court system, Stretton said. "They ignored the undisputed facts in this case."

Sullivan, 51, has been the focus of federal and judicial investigations for at least five years and faces a possible prison sentence in another case.

In December, he pleaded guilty in federal court to a misdemeanor tax charge of paying staff under the table at his South Philadelphia bar for seven years. He is to be sentenced in that case March 2.

Prosecutors said the tax case was not part of the earlier government investigation of how tickets were routinely fixed in Philadelphia.

In a single trial in the ticket case, several Traffic Court judges were convicted of related offenses, but all escaped the ticket-fixing charges. Their sentences ranged from probation to 20 months in prison.

Sullivan, who has consistently maintained that he never took money in exchange for dismissing tickets, was acquitted of all charges.

After acquitting Sullivan, jurors said they believed the ticket-fixing represented ethical lapses rather than criminal acts.

The judicial tribunal, however, focused on the ethics issues. It cited ample evidence that Sullivan took care of tickets for his friends and political allies.

Sullivan's troubles started in 2011, when FBI agents raided his judicial office, home, and bar as part of their investigation.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court quickly hired a consultant to investigate Traffic Court corruption and appointed Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer to overhaul its operations.

The consultant, William Chadwick, issued a report documenting ticket-fixing, and said the court was marked by "two tracks of justice - one for the connected and another for the unwitting general public."

In 2013, the state legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett replaced Traffic Court judges and folded their functions into the city's regular judicial system.

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