Traffic Court Judge Willie F. Singletary sat slumped in his courtroom at Eighth and Spring Garden Streets yesterday, looking dejected after a morning filled with hearings, and said that his lawyer would do his talking.
Singletary's lawyer, John Summers, said his client had stipulated to the facts of the ruling issued Monday by the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline that faults the 27-year-old for violating the state code of judicial ethics. Specifically, the court ruled that Singletary solicited campaign funds for his 2007 run for office from a group of bikers and hinted that he would give them favorable treatment in Traffic Court if they ponied up $20 each.
"Judge Singletary deeply regrets the incident and looks forward to providing a fuller explanation at the hearing," Summers said.
The event in question is the April 22, 2007, "blessing of the bikes" at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia. Singletary, a pastor, was caught on video - later posted on YouTube - telling a gathering of the Philadelphia First State Rattlers Motorcycle Club: "Now you all want me to get there [elected], you're all going to want my hook-up, right? . . . You're all going to help me out. . . . I need some money."
The Court of Judicial Discipline, a panel that includes judges, lawyers and lay persons, ruled that the words implied that $20 donations would warrant favorable treatment for the donors should they come before him in Traffic Court.
Furthermore, the court found that Singletary had damaged the dignity of the court.
The court could remove Singletary from the bench, an action he is seeking to prevent by arguing he was not aware that judicial candidates were barred from political fund-raising.
A date for a hearing to decide his punishment has not been set.
As he sat in his black robes yesterday, Singletary seemed contrite and depressed as he rested his head on a fist at the front of the courtroom.
When questioned by a reporter, a worried look crossed his face.
"You all doing another article?"
Finally resigned, he merely shrugged and signed documents put in front of him by a clerk.
"I'm done for the day," he said.