The Philadelphia Traffic Court has forever been known as the “People’s Court”. That is because the people are not at the mercy of lawyers when they come before it and can communicate their need to insure a fair hearing without having to pay a hefty price for representation.
True, sometimes they’ve gone to their elected representatives, their ward leaders and their committee people to make sure they were given “consideration” for their cause in Traffic Court.
Know that no judge in recent Traffic Court history has ever been accused of putting his or her hand out. None of them would jeopardize their positions by flat-out blowing away cases of those guilty of the more-serious traffic penalties, such as reckless driving, passing school buses and endangering pedestrians, or driving that caused accidents, as well as drivers whose cases were being inspected by the Police Dept.’s Accident Investigation Division, or for DUI.
To give a bit of a leeway to a driver who failed to use turn signals when changing lanes or turning corners, and other minor judgmental infractions that led to tickets, is not the cardinal sin we are being bullied into believing through a prejudiced report being dramatically hailed in the main press.
If we had deep pockets and traced the machinations of many attorneys as they manipulate the court dockets and the general judicial system to suit their schedules and to insure their clients’ cases would be before the “right-minded” judges, we could easily win a prize for investigative journalism.
Talk about the behavior of some of our judges in the Municipal and Common Pleas Courts in the 1st Judicial system. Nobody dare excuse these judges of allowing this type of behavior, which costs the courts plenty in wasted time! Little heed is paid to the heartbreak inflicted on prisoners who get shuttled back and forth between the courts and the prisons and never get a day in court.
Who has yet to question why half the prisoners delivered by the Sheriff’s office, under great care and high security, are returned each day without being transferred from their Criminal Justice Court cell to a courtroom? Surely they have the right to understand, at the very least, why their cases will not be heard as scheduled.
Talking about using their friendships with the judges … how does a handful of Philadelphia lawyers get away with postponing their more-troubling and hard-to-defend cases for as long as a year and more, just to wear down the patience of plaintiffs who wish to see justice rendered? Oftentimes these unhappy citizens finally walk away with their crucial testimony, allowing the guilty to go free. So honest folk become victims once again, this time to a failing judicial system, which forced them to show up for numerous continuances until they have had it.
A Traffic Court judge makes his or her own decisions. None will ever want to jeopardize their reputation because of entreaties by others.
Perhaps the difference between Traffic Court judges and some of their peers in the upper courts is they make greater use of common sense.