To The Legal:
Sam Stretton's letter, "Hiring of Firm for Phila. Traffic Court Investigation Raises Ethics Questions," published Wednesday in The Legal, complaining about the Chadwick review of the Traffic Court is wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, and misguided in every respect.
Contrary to Stretton's assertion:
The Chadwick firm was engaged by the First Judicial District and not by the Supreme Court.
The Chadwick firm was compensated by the FJD and not by the Supreme Court.
I oversaw the Chadwick review and worked closely with the Chadwick team in my capacity as a common pleas judge of the FJD and administrative judge of the Traffic Court.
The Chadwick firm was engaged to provide the following consulting services: (1) to assist the FJD in assessing the operations of the Traffic Court; (2) to facilitate the FJD's cooperation with the federal investigation; (3) to conduct an independent review of the integrity of the Traffic Court's operations, the quality of its internal controls and its compliance with applicable statutes and regulations; (4) to develop recommendations for ensuring the integrity of the processes for adjudicating non-parking traffic violations in the city of Philadelphia; and (5) to prepare a report of findings and recommendations.
For Stretton to suggest that this court lacks the authority to examine its own operations to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice and compliance with applicable rules is nothing short of absurd. To the contrary, the FJD would have been remiss if it had ignored the red flags raised by the federal raids and waited for the federal government to act. One need only look to the Luzerne County Juvenile Court scandal for the consequences of ignoring red flags.
The public deserves our unstinting vigilance against corruption. When such vigilance requires that we engage an expert to examine our operations, we will do so without hesitation, and we will follow the trail wherever it leads, and to whomever it leads. It is our obligation as responsible public officials, and we make no apology for doing so.
Gary S. Glazer
Administrative Judge, Philadelphia Traffic Court