A fourth defendant pleaded guilty last week in an alleged ticket-fixing conspiracy at Philadelphia Traffic Court.
William Hird, who was director of records, pleaded guilty to 18 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and lying to the FBI when questioned about ticket fixing.
A sentencing date has not been set. Hird faces a possible advisory sentencing guideline range of 12 to 18 months in jail.
In January 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a grand jury indictment of 12 people affiliated with Traffic Court, including nine current or former judges.
The charges stemmed from family and friends of judges and employees being acquitted for moving violations at a much higher rate than the general public.
Three of those judges already have pleaded guilty. They are former state Rep. and retired Administrative Judge Fortunato N. “Fred” Perri Sr.; Delaware County Senior District Judge Kenneth Miller; and Bucks County Senior Magisterial District Judge H. Warren Hogeland.
Hogeland died last year. Perri and Miller await sentencing.
Eight other people face trial in May. They are businessmen Robert Moy and Henry P. “Eddie” Alfano and former Judges Mike Lowry, Michael Sullivan, Robert Mulgrew, Willie Singletary, Thomasine Tynes and Mark A. Bruno, a Chester County magisterial district court judge who occasionally heard Traffic Court cases.
Last year, the state legislature voted to transfer Traffic Court operations to Municipal Court. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill.
Municipal Court has established a traffic division at Traffic Court’s former home at 8th and Spring Garden streets.
Also, the legislature passed a bill that would eliminate Traffic Court from the state Constitution.
To become law, that bill must pass the House and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions and pass a statewide referendum. The earliest that could happen would be the spring of 2015. ••