Corbett signs bill to abolish Philly traffic court

HARRISBURG, Pa. - June 19, 2013

Federal authorities this year charged nine current or former Philadelphia traffic court judges with fixing tickets as political favors.

Under the newly signed bill, November elections for three open seats on the seven-judge traffic court will be canceled.

Also canceled will be potential retention elections for two other traffic court judges, both under suspension, said Erik Arneson, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, the bill's prime sponsor.

The remaining two traffic judges, both elected to six-year terms in 2011, will be transferred to the Philadelphia Municipal Court, where they will be supervised by the president judge, Arneson said.

A companion bill to remove the traffic court from the state constitution previously received legislative approval. If that constitutional amendment is approved a second time in the next legislative session, it would be sent out to voters in a statewide referendum that could be held as early as 2015.

Chief Justice Ronald Castille applauded the bill signing and called it "an example of collaboration at its best."

"The problems with Traffic Court have been well-documented, starting with the investigative report prepared for the First Judicial District at my direction. The willingness of our sister branches to quickly join with the judiciary as we work to correct the problems is appreciated," he said.

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