Imagine that, judges conspiring to game the legal system. Then again, this kind of thing is probably happening all over the country. Government monopolies can't help but be corrupt.
Nine current and former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges were charged with conspiracy and fraud Thursday, capping a three-year FBI probe into what authorities said was rampant ticket-fixing and pervasive corruption on the bench.
The charges, outlined in a 77-count indictment, described "a well-understood conspiracy of silence" that created two distinct courts: one where typical citizens paid for their infractions, and a second where offenders with the right connections won acquittals or saw their fines or cases disappear.
Those charged include Michael Lowry and Michael Sullivan, two of only three judges active on a seven-member bench already depleted by scandal. Both declined to comment. Sullivan's attorney said Sullivan never solicited or took a bribe and looked forward to his vindication.
State judiciary officials said they would seek to suspend or remove the accused judges and would send reinforcements to keep the court running.