A federal judge has rejected what he called the "circular" legal logic behind a request from five former Philadelphia Traffic Court judges to dismiss criminal charges filed against them on Jan. 31 in what prosecutors called a widespread scheme to fix tickets at political favors.
U.S. District Judge Robert Kelly ruled Monday that the case will go forward, rejecting the request from former Traffic Court Administrative Judge Michael Sullivan after hearing arguments on the motion last week.
Sullivan's attorney, Henry Hockeimer Jr., had argued that the federal case was built on the prospect of money the city and state might have collected if traffic ticket holders were found guilty by the judges. But no fine exists without a guilty finding, he said, so no federal crime had been committed.
"To accept the defendants' argument would permit the alleged conspirators in this case to enter into a scheme to commit fraud and then hide behind the argument that the success of their fraud precludes prosecution under the 'money or property interest' requirement of the mail and wire fraud statues," Kelly wrote in a 19-page ruling.