By: P.J. D'Annunzio and Hank Grezlak
The recent guilty plea of a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge to case-fixing charges and the suspension of two other judges, all occurring with the Philadelphia Traffic Court scandal still fresh in the public’s mind, has seriously damaged the reputation of the Philadelphia judicial system, members of the legal community said . . .
To Gene D. Cohen, a retired Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge and current partner at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman, recent events are reminiscent of the Roofers Union scandal of the 1980s, in which several Philadelphia judges were removed from the bench for taking bribes.
“I’m really saddened,” Cohen said. “If the allegations are true, the lessons of 1987 and 1988 are lost on us.”
However, Cohen, appointed by then-Gov. Robert Casey Sr. to the commission tasked with finding replacement judges in the wake of the Roofers Union incident, said he thought that case-fixing and favoritism would not likely be present in the Court of Common Pleas.
In that court, Cohen said, “Not only are the judges watching each other, but the lawyers are watching the judges. I know there’s no systemic corruption in the Court of Common Pleas. But judges are people and sometimes things happen.”