23 of 39 Traffic Court candidates face legal challenges

It's a go-big-or-go-home campaign year for Philadelphia Traffic Court, where 23 of the 39 candidates for three open seats now face legal challenges to their nomination petitions or financial disclosure forms.  Candidates had to file at least 1,000 signatures from registered voters in the city by 5 p.m. last Tuesday. The 5 p.m. deadline to challenge those documents in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas just passed.

Candidates facing challenges are: Lewis Harris Jr., Inja Coates, Lynwood Savage, Sharif Ali, Ella Butcher, Soncera Ikeke, Robert Tuerk, Juanita Jenkins, Armstead King Jr., Fareeda Brewington, Bobbie Curry, David Mamikonyan, Verna Ragan Tennant, Keith Jackson, Suzanne Harmon Carn, Andrew Grannum Sr., Khalilah Case, Thomas McLaughlin, Fred Mari, Alessandro Gatta, Erin Nowak, Bruce Bailey and Youngchu Judy Song.

The Philadelphia City Commission on Wednesday will select ballot positions for the candidates.  Hearings on the legal challenges begin Friday. 

Also on Friday, the state House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in Philadelphia on two pieces of legislation approved last month by the state Senate to abolish Traffic Court.  The first bill eliminates the three vacant seats. The second bill changes the state Constitution to fold that agency's duties into the city's Municipal Court.

The Senate acted two weeks after federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against nine current or former Traffic Court judges in a massive ticket-fixing scheme.  Three of the judges, including former Administrative Judge Fortunato Perri Sr., have already pleaded guilty.

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