Pa. Supreme Court appoints new Phila. Traffic Court administrative judge

Jon Campisi Dec. 20, 2011, 8:42am

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday announced the appointment of a new administrative judge at Philadelphia’s Traffic Court.

The appointment of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer comes on the heels of an announcement last month that the court is under a federal grand jury probe into ticket-fixing allegations.

Supreme Court Justice Ronald D. Castille had previously said that federal investigators discovered stacks of traffic citations that appeared to be in the process of being disposed of illegally.

On Monday, Castille announced that Glazer would be taking over for current Traffic Court Administrative Judge Michael J. Sullivan.

The appointment is for a three-year term or until the high court decides to institute a change.

Sullivan, however, had only been the administrative judge at Traffic Court since late April. While he has been removed from his supervisory role, Sullivan, who was reelected to the court last month and will be sworn in for a second term on the bench in January, will remain a judge.

Castille told the Philadelphia Inquirer Monday that the FBI has issued search warrants for the home and officer computers of Sullivan, in addition to those of former Traffic Court Judge Fortunato Perri, Sr., and former records clerk William Hird.

FBI agents previously confirmed that they had conducted a raid at Traffic Court in September, according to the Inquirer.

Last month, the Legal Intelligencer newspaper reported that computers had been taken from Traffic Court, part of the First Judicial District, and just about all Traffic Court staffers were being questioned by a grand jury investigating allegations of ticket-fixing.

"While an initial review determined that many aspects of the Traffic Court's operations were sound, it identified a long-standing practice of Traffic Court judges accepting external requests for favorable treatment of defendants appearing before them, primarily for political sources," read a statement issued by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Henry E. Hockeimer, Jr., an attorney for Sullivan, told the Inquirer that the removal of his client, an elected judge, from his administrative post was both "surprising and disappointing."

"Judge Sullivan has done nothing wrong, and the purported basis for this decision took place approximately three months ago," he was quoted as saying Monday. "Judge Sullivan has continued to effectively perform his functions as Administrative Judge. We certainly hope this move is not being driven by politics or some other agenda."

Philadelphia Traffic Court is comprised of seven elected judges who handle motor vehicle citations originating in Philadelphia County. 

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