Pa. Supreme Court affirms CJD's removal of Singletary as Phila. Traffic Court judge

By Jon Campisi | Jul 18, 2013

The matter seems somewhat moot, given that the former minor court jurist has already

resigned his seat and also due to the fact that the bench is no longer in existence, but the state Supreme Court has nevertheless affirmed the ouster of former Judge Willie Singletary from the now-defunct Philadelphia Traffic Court.

The high court issued a one-sentence per curiam order July 16 that upholds the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline’s decision to officially remove Singletary from office.

The former judge faced disciplinary action for allegations by a female court staffer that the woman was shown cellphone images of Singletary’s genitals at the former courthouse on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood.

That courthouse has since been shuttered, with traffic citation appeals cases recently having been transferred to the Philadelphia Municipal Court after the Pennsylvania General Assembly voted to abolish the Philadelphia Traffic Court, which was besieged by years of scandal, the latest being the federal indictments filed against nearly every Traffic Court judge over allegations of ticket-fixing for family, friends and political acquaintances.

A companion bill, which would formally eliminate Philadelphia Traffic Court by amending the state constitution, still must be passed in the next legislative session and given the approval by voters in a public referendum.

As for Singletary, the former jurist was officially removed from office by the Court of Judicial Discipline back on Dec. 13 of last year, the Pennsylvania Record previously reported.

The Traffic Court’s administrative judge had relieved Singletary of his duties in late 2011, which was followed by Singletary’s official resignation in early 2012.

Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board levied charges against Singletary in March of last year asserting that Singletary’s actions brought the judicial office into disrepute.

The Court of Judicial Discipline agreed with the JCB and determined that Singletary’s actions amounted to a violation of the commonwealth’s constitution.

Singletary, who began his stint on Philadelphia Traffic Court in January 2008, had been caught up in prior scandals, including the time he was caught on video while campaigning for his Traffic Court seat telling members of a biker rally that they could receive favorable treatment in traffic ticket cases if they donated to his candidacy for judgeship.

Singletary also made headlines after it was discovered that he had amassed more than $11,000 in traffic fines, and was subject to a suspended drivers’ license, prior to being elected Traffic Court judge.

He ultimately paid the outstanding citations and succeeded in having his license restored.

The Supreme Court’s action this week, however, could have some potential repercussions for Singletary; he could be barred from ever again holding a judicial post in Pennsylvania.

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