U.S. District Judge Oren R. Lewis, apparently bending to the wishes of his brethren on the federal bench, has paid a $20 traffic ticket he received two months ago from a Park Police officer.
Lewis, a semiretired trial judge in Alexandria, had asked for his day in court to contest the Oct. 22 summons. His decision to pay the fine instead means a January trial at which Chief District Judge John A. MacKenzie Jr. was to preside will not be held.
The 80-year-old judge had "absolutely no comment," his secretary said yesterday.
A source familiar with the case said, however, that Lewis changed his mind about a trial after his colleagues on the bench privately urged him to pay the fine. The source said Lewis also received a telephone call from MacKenzie that was something short of cordial.
The ticket was issued by Officer John L. Loveland after Lewis allegedly failed to obey the officer's order that the judge make way for a fire truck responding to a call in rush hour traffic on the George Washington Memorial Parkway near Spout Run.
Court employes said yesterday that Lewis sent in his money to the U.S. Magistrates' office on Friday.
Lewis' intention to fight the ticket had become a minor cause celebre in courthouse circles and led all three magistrates in Alexandria, who usually hear cases involving tickets issued under federal jurisdiction, to excuse themselves. The magistrates, all of whom Lewis outranks, suggested that a magistrate be brought in from another jurisdiction, but MacKenzie, the chief U.S. trial judge in eastern Virginia, reportedly was adamant that he would hear the case himself