Chief justice replaced as Philly courts overseer
Published: January 11, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The state's Supreme Court has voted to appoint a new justice to oversee the city's court system, replacing Chief Justice Ronald Castille in that role several months after a report found rampant problems with ticket-fixing in the city's traffic court.
The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts said in a statement that Justice J. Michael Eakin will now oversee the court system of the state's largest city and will "lead continued reform efforts" begun by Castille, a former Philadelphia district attorney who had overseen the city's courts as chief justice since 2007.
In a statement, Eakin cited the "immense" day-to-day responsibilities of the chief justice, saying the beginning of the year was a good time for the change.
"At no time in court history has any chief justice been burdened by so many statewide duties and the significant work that overseeing Philadelphia court reforms requires," Eakin said.
A message left at Castille's office was not returned. In a statement released by the court, he said he was proud of his time as liaison justice to the city's courts.
"Every prudent organization plans for continuity in its management," he said in the statement. "Justice Eakin's appointment helps to achieve that objective and allows me to continue to lead the Unified Judicial System as it faces numerous significant administrative and jurisprudential issues, including obtaining an adequate budget and other statewide reforms."
The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the change Thursday. It comes several months after a report commissioned by Castille found ticket-fixing is a rampant problem in Philadelphia with politically connected citizens frequently receiving special consideration. Castille relieved the Traffic Court's top judge of his duties last year after his office was raided by federal agents.
Castille, who was Philadelphia district attorney from 1971 to 1985, has served on the Supreme Court since being elected in 1993. He has been chief justice since 2008.