"There are so many options under consideration. They have to be evaluated on whether they are appropriate and ... if they can be put into place," said Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary S. Glazer, who was appointed administrative judge of Traffic Court just over a year ago in wake of the federal investigation into alleged ticket-fixing. "There's a whole universe outside of the courthouse that is going to want to have a say in that."
One option to be weighed is if Traffic Court employees should be civil servants instead of political appointees, Castille said.
Marks said the advantage of replacing Traffic Court with an administrative agency would be that employees would be civil servants and be subject to dismissal if they do not comply with the rules.
In terms of reform for the judges, both Glazer and Marks said they favor having a tougher exam that Traffic Court judges would have to pass before they could be seated as judges.
"Anything that can be done that will ensure that the judges have appropriate legal and ethical grounding is something that we should support, advance and implement," Glazer said.
While Chadwick Associates suggested that Traffic Court judges be lawyers, having someone's law license at stake is "not the be-all and end-all for the purpose of ethical misconduct. ... We have seen judges who are lawyers who also have been accused of judicial misconduct. That will help but in itself won't deal with the whole culture of ticket-fixing," Marks said.
Marks said she does not favor a merger of Traffic Court into Municipal Court.
'It's a Process'
Many of the ideas for changing Traffic Court have been around for decades even as seemingly not much has changed and the court has faced more than one scandal. For example, in 1978, Judge Louis Vignola was convicted of taking more than $30,000 and five television sets in bribes by writ servers in return for channeling court work their way, according to an Associated Press report from that year.
Glazer said changing the court is going to take a lot of time.
"It's a process," Glazer said. "It's a journey. It's going to take time and we're going to try things and some of them are going to be successful and some of them are going to be unsuccessful."