According to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, West Chester Magisterial Judge Mark Bruno allegedly "fixed" Philadelphia traffic tickets, along with 11 other judges, for people "with whom they were socially or politically connected."
Bruno presided over District Court 15-1-01 that primarily deals with offenses in the western part of the Borough of West Chester.
Bruno, along with the other judges indicted, stands accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
According to the indictment, the judges allegedly involved would use their personal assistants and courtroom staff to make “consideration” requests to other judges for traffic tickets that needed to be “fixed.”
Judges would allegedly “fix” traffic tickets by dismissing them outright, holding “show” hearings with a not guilty verdict, reducing violations to also reduce fines and points assigned to a driver’s license or changing court dates in order to land a judge who would give preferential treatment.
The indictment also says that the process allegedly went on for years that there was a culture of “ticket-fixing.”
According to the indictment, judges and staff allegedly took to using covert methods to hide the “consideration process. Allegedly, documents were shredded, officials spoke in code and only certain staff members were used because they could be trusted not to reveal the scheme.
The Daily Local Reports:
According to the indictment, Bruno had filled in hearing cases for a week or two in Philadelphia Traffic Court. There, presumably, he came to know various people involved in the court administration.
The indictment states that on Jan. 14, 2011, Bruno contacted Fortunato N. Perri Sr., a Philadelphia judge who served on and off in traffic court since 1997, concerning “fixing a citation” received by a person identified only as “J.M.”
Perri agreed to “look into it” stating that he still had “a lot of connections” in the traffic court.
Perri also allegedly reminded Bruno that he was the one responsible for Bruno being allowed to work on the traffic court, presiding over cases. The conversation was captured on a wiretap of Perri’s phone.
There was no information in the indictment what became of the ticket, and what it was for.
The Daily Local also reports that Bruno has been suspended from court until the matter is resolved.
To read the story on the Daily Local's website please click on the link: here.