Traffic Court Judge Singletary charged with misconduct

A Philadelphia Traffic Court judge is in trouble again, a year after his driver's license was suspended through 2011 for owing $11,427 for 55 traffic violations.

The state Judicial Conduct Board issued a complaint yesterday charging Willie F. Singletary, 28, with five counts of misconduct for soliciting campaign donations from the Philadelphia First State Road Rattlers Motorcycle Club on April 22, 2007.

Singletary, who was elected to Traffic Court last year and has presided as a judge since Jan. 7, met the bikers at Malcolm X Park, 52nd and Pine streets, where, as a deacon of a West Philadelphia church, he conducted a "blessing of the bikes."

Then, Singletary asked each biker to give him $20 for his campaign, in violation of state judicial conduct rules, according to the 11-page complaint.

"There's going to be a basket going around because I'm running for Traffic Court Judge, right, and I need some money," he said, according to the complaint.

"Now, you all want me to get there, you're all going to need my hook-up, right," he continued.

"It costs money," he added. "I have to raise $15,000 by Friday. I just hope you have it."

The board found Singletary, as a judicial candidate, allegedly violated five provisions. It said that he brought the judicial office to disrepute; conducted partisan political activity, including soliciting political donations; failed to maintain dignity appropriate to judicial office; pledged or promised improper conduct in office, and solicited and directly accepted campaign funds.

A 2-minute, 55-second video of the "blessing of the bikes" with his comments, appeared on YouTube. A total of $285 was collected and reported on his May 4 campaign finance report from the Friends of Willie Singletary.

Neither Singletary nor his attorney, John W. Morris, returned calls from the Daily News. Joseph A. Massa, Jr., chief counsel of the Judicial Conduct Board, will prosecute the civil/administrative case.

William H. Lamb, president judge of the Court of Judicial Discipline, will appoint a conference judge to preside over pretrial proceedings.

Then, a three-judge panel, including the conference judge, will hear the trial. The entire eight-judge court will issue a verdict.

Massa said no trial date has been set. *