By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has moved to suspend, without pay, the six sitting judges charged yesterday in connection with a sweeping federal indictment alleging frequent and pervasive ticket-fixing. A total of nine current and former judges were among the 12 people charged (see related story).
According to the grand jury, ticket fixing was pervasive and frequent, and traffic court judges and employees took steps to conceal the crimes by shredding paperwork and speaking to one another in code. Fixing tickets was consideration and there was a well-understood conspiracy of silence.
Most of the defendants made their initial appearance in federal court yesterday, pleading not guilty. Judge Michael Sullivan was among them, with the courtroom deputy reading the long list of charges against him, before Judge Sullivan pleaded ‘not guilty.’ Sullivan’s attorney released a statement saying, in part, “Judge Sullivan never asked for, nor did he receive any bribe, kickback or anything of value for performing his duties.”
While most defendants entered not guilty pleas, three defendants — Judges Fortunato Perri Senior, Kenneth Miller and H. Warren Hogeland — waived indictment, which often indicates a guilty plea, but no plea has been entered yet.