Alternative proposed to abolishing Philly Traffic Court

With nine Philadelphia Traffic Court judges indicted on charges of “ticket fixing” — and some already pleading guilty — the court is under a lot of scrutiny.

Some Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed abolishing it altogether, but one legislator suggests reforms would be a preferable option.

Traffic court can be saved, says state Rep. Curtis Thomas, D-Philadelphia.

“While the situation at traffic court is bad and disgusting,” he said. “I don’t think we need to blow the court up.”

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Thomas says he has put together a series of reforms for the court. He says preserving it would avoid wasting money by breaking 10-year-long contracts.

“One is the lease on the building and the other is the technology that manages the system over there,” he said.

If his plan is adopted, Thomas says it would improve the traffic court process, eliminating judges who currently can serve without a high school diploma never mind a law degree. He would replace them with “special masters.”

“We would raise the qualifications. One, you’ve got to have a degree; two, you’ve got to have any outstanding moving or parking violations satisfied before you run for traffic court master,” he said.

Thomas’ bills, as well as the one that would abolish traffic court completely, are continuing to move forward in Harrisburg.

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