By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Opening statements were presented today in the trial of six former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused of fixing tickets (see related stories).READ MORE: FBI, Philadelphia Police Searching For Woman Who Allegedly Robbed Wells Fargo Bank In Logan Square, Police Say
Prosecutor Denise Wolf told the jury there was an “underground” Traffic Court — that these six judges on trial fixed tickets for people they knew: family and friends, political supporters, business customers, and each other. And often, she said, the ticket violator didn’t even need to bother to show up in court.
According to Wolf, these judges — Michael Sullivan, Michael Lowery, Robert Mulgrew, Willie Singletary, Thomasine Tynes, and Mark Bruno — “stained the black robes they wore” as they committed crimes week after week, year after year. She called it a “ticket-fixing culture.”READ MORE: Teen In 'Extremely Critical Condition' After Being Shot In The Face, Philadelphia Police Say
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney William DeStefano, who represents Judge Lowery, said, “We’re very positive about Judge Lowery’s chances of an acquittal in this case.” When a reporter asked why, he replied, “Because he’s not guilty.”
All of these defendants have pleaded not guilty. Several other figures in the probe of Philadelphia Traffic Court have previously pleaded guilty.MORE NEWS: Multi-Car Crash Leads To Car Fire, Power Outage Near Frankford Avenue