Northeast Times

Former traffic judges cleared of most serious charges

A fed­er­al jury last week found four former Traffic Court judges guilty of ly­ing, but ac­quit­ted them and three oth­ers of the more ser­i­ous charges of con­spir­acy and wire and mail fraud.

Jur­ors found former judges Mike Lowry, Robert Mul­grew and Thomas­ine Tynes guilty of com­mit­ting per­jury in front of a fed­er­al grand jury. They found an­oth­er ex-judge, Wil­lie Sing­let­ary, guilty of ly­ing to the FBI when ques­tioned about tick­et fix­ing at Traffic Court.

Three de­fend­ants — former judges Mi­chael Sul­li­van and Mark A. Bruno and busi­ness­man Robert Moy — were found not guilty.

“We re­spect the jury’s ver­dict in this case and will con­tin­ue our ef­forts to root out cor­rup­tion in Phil­adelphia and this dis­trict,” said United States At­tor­ney Zane Dav­id Memeger. “We are pleased that the jury con­victed these former judges of the ser­i­ous of­fenses of ly­ing un­der oath and ly­ing to the FBI.”

Sen­ten­cing hear­ings are ex­pec­ted in Oc­to­ber. Each de­fend­ant faces a max­im­um pos­sible sen­tence of up to five years in pris­on.

The case was in­vest­ig­ated by the FBI. It was pro­sec­uted by As­sist­ant United States At­tor­neys Den­ise Wolf and An­thony Wzorek.

Co-de­fend­ants H. War­ren Ho­ge­land, Ken­neth Miller, For­tu­nato Perri, Wil­li­am Hird and Henry P. “Ed­die” Al­fano pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty. Ho­ge­land died last year. The oth­er four await sen­ten­cing.

Hird was dir­ect­or of re­cords at Traffic Court. Al­fano is a busi­ness­man. Perri, a former state rep­res­ent­at­ive, was Traffic Court’s ad­min­is­trat­ive judge.

Miller, a Delaware County seni­or dis­trict judge, heard some cases in Traffic Court. So did Ho­ge­land, a Bucks County seni­or ma­gis­teri­al dis­trict judge.

The U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice an­nounced a grand jury in­dict­ment of 12 people af­fil­i­ated with Traffic Court in Janu­ary 2013. 

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.

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. •• 

You can reach at noreply@bsmphilly.com.

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