According to an article in today’s Legal Intelligencer (subscription required) indicted Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew was suspended without pay yesterday by the state Supreme Court. The order states Judge Mulgrew is “hereby relieved of any and all judicial and administrative responsibilities as a judge of the Philadelphia Traffic Court.” It continues, “Judge Robert Mulgrew is suspended without pay pending further order of this court.”
Mulgrew was indicted on federal charges for thirty counts of mail fraud, seven counts of tax fraud, and one count of wire fraud. These counts were related to an alleged use of state grant funds that were supposed to be used for community groups. Following these charges, Judge Mulgrew was suspended on Friday by Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille from “all official duties and assignments on an emergency basis.” The Judicial Conduct Board also filed a petition for Mulgrew to be suspended without pay. Chief counsel to the Judicial Conduct Board, Joseph A. Massa Jr. explained, "‘If Judge Mulgrew is permitted to continue participating in cases before the Philadelphia Traffic Court, the public's confidence in the judiciary and the judiciary's reputation will continue to erode.’"
PMC’s executive director, Lynn Marks, noted that it was the state Supreme Court and not the state Court of Judicial Discipline that suspended Judge Mulgrew. "‘We think it's really important that the Supreme Court is taking so seriously what's going on in Traffic Court,’ Marks said. ‘It's a shame [the Traffic Court is] down so many judges, but people have to have confidence when they go before judges that they're smart, fair, impartial and honest.’"