On June 17th an old political friend of mine, former district justice for Allegheny County & Pittsburgh, Jules Melograne was sentenced to 27 months in Federal prision for fixing traffic tickets. Yes, that's correct traffic tickets! Had Jules ever taken any money for fixing hundreds of tickets between December of 1990 and July of 1993? No, he had not. Although, he did admit to having accepted one or two fruit baskets and on one occassion he had let an errant handyman, plaster some cracks in his courtroom.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Olga Melograne asked for mercy for her husband, who wept as he apologized in a brief statement to U.S.District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose. "All my life I've helped people out," Jules Melograne said.
If I could sum Jules up in a word; that word would be tolerant. It's a pretty sorry state of affairs when the Federal government puts a 70 year old man away for helping common people out. Jules is not perfect; but this is terrible!
Does this mean, that in the eyes of the Federal Government, a local district justice or magistrate has no discretion on how to handle minor local matters like traffic tickets?
Sincerely, Thomas Lehman
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