As many as 10 current or former Philadelphia judges, including state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, could face state disciplinary proceedings as the result of an investigative report on Philadelphia Traffic Court, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The list includes three sitting Traffic Court judges; five who no longer hear cases or have been suspended from the Traffic Court bench; one Municipal Court judge, Joseph J. O’Neill Sr., who successfully appealed a red-light ticket; and McCaffery, whose contact with the Traffic Court’s director of operations about a ticket for his wife was questioned.
“Judges alleged to have engaged in unethical or inappropriate conduct have been referred to the Supreme Court and the Judicial Conduct Board,” said consultant William Chadwick in a report to Gary Glazer, the Common Pleas Court judge now in charge of Traffic Court operations. Chadwick, Castille’s top deputy when he was Philadelphia district attorney, described a culture of free ticket-fixing at Traffic Court for people with the right connections. Despite a Supreme Court rule that Traffic Court judges “shall not allow their family, social, or other relationships to influence their judicial conduct or judgment,” Chadwick’s report alleged that the court had established actual procedures for providing “special consideration” for the favored few. Every judge at Traffic Court participated in the practice, Chadwick found, dismissing tickets or downgrading violations to protect the offender’s driving record.