Philadelphia Traffic Court. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro.
The first witness at the federal corruption trial of former Philadelphia Traffic Court officials charged with pervasive "ticket-fixing" was a Bucks County judge who described being asked to play ball while visiting Traffic Court.
Retired Bucks County judge Ruth Dietrich testified about an instance when Judge Willie Singletary "asked to have a favorable decision" on a traffic ticket case while Dietrich was assigned to work in Philadelphia Traffic Court.
"He just brought a piece of paper with a citation number on it," Dietrich testified. "I rolled it up and gave it to my court liaison and said, 'You can take a hearing like everybody else.'"
When prosecutors asked why she didn't help Singletary, Dietrich replied, "Because it's not legal."
Dietrich's testimony is expected to continue when trial begins again today for Singletary, five other former judges and a local businessman facing wire and mail fraud charges for the alleged corruption revealed by an FBI raid in September 2011.
Three judges and one businessman charged in the case pleaded guilty prior to trial beginning.