Judge sues Supreme Court for suspending him after he was indicted in Traffic Court corruption probe

Philadelphia Traffic Court
The most recent scandal to hit Philadelphia’s Traffic Court is a ticket-fixing scheme that led to the indictment of nine judges. Rikard Larma/Metro

A judge has sued the state Supreme Court, claiming he was unconstitutionally suspended without pay or benefits after being federally indicted — but not yet tried or convicted — in connection with a Philadelphia Traffic Court corruption probe into ticket fixing.

West Chester Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno filed a civil rights suit in federal court last week against the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and six court justices, claiming he was denied his right to due process when it came to the suspension decision, which was allegedly made without any notice, adjudicatory hearing or opportunity for Bruno to respond.

The suit claims any disciplinary action against Bruno would fall under the purview of the Judicial Conduct Board, not the state Supreme Court. It alleges the Supreme Court issued a per curiam order dated Feb. 1 – three days after Bruno was indicted – relieving Bruno of his judicial and administrative duties.

“Judge Bruno found out about the order from news reports since he was never served with any request by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, or given any opportunity to respond since the court did not issue any rule-to-show cause,” the complaint reads.

Bruno said he received the order in the mail Feb. 5.

Bruno, who occasionally presided over Traffic Court cases while judges were away on training, was indicted in late January for allegedly asking Judge Fortunato Perri to fix a traffic ticket received by a friend and adjudicating another ally’s citation. Bruno is charged with wire and mail fraud, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting.

“A review of the federal indictment … alleges very little involvement by Judge Bruno,” the complaint reads. “Judge Bruno has emphatically denied his guilt and plead not guilty and will vigorously oppose these charges at the criminal trial.”

The suit says since there is “a good possibility” the complex Traffic Court trial won’t commence until after January of next year, Bruno is precluded from having a timely opportunity to clear his name and earn wages again.

“Judge Bruno has been severely deprived since he has lost his sole source of income and now must rely on his wife’s income as a teacher in the Catholic school system,” the complaint reads. “He is unable to pay his bills and has had great difficulty finding other work because of his judicial position and also because of this pending indictment.”

Bruno, who wants his job back, is seeking an injunction and restraining order compelling the Supreme Court to reverse the suspension pending the trial outcome or to provide a timely hearing and prove the Court has the authority to take disciplinary measures against Bruno. He’s also seeking back pay, benefits and attorney fees.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Local

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Police look for man suspected of threatening Muslim…

Police seek man suspected of calling a teen Muslim girl a "terrorist" and spitting on her multiple times while on a Queens bus.

Books

Poems from prison: 'How to Survive a Bullet…

Celebrate National Poetry Month with, "'How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart."

The Word

Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg are engaged

If Donnie Wahlberg wants to get vaccinated against anything, he should do it soon: he and Jenny McCarthy are engaged, she just announced on "The View."

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Movies

Curtain raiser: The Tribeca Film Festival arrives this…

The Tribeca Film Festival begins its two-week run in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, boasting dozens and dozens of films of all stripes.

NHL

Islanders back to rebuilding mode after disappointing season

One season after qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, the Islanders finished 2013-14 with a 34-37-11 record.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.